Our readers find a lot of news, and they have many comments. Please post your news and comments below at “Leave a reply.” Here is the link to the old thread that’s now being retired — March 26, 2014.

Virgin Mts. at sunset near Bunkerville, NV. Your public land or should it be for grazing illegal cattle? Photo copyright Ralph Maughan. April 2013

Virgin Mts. at sunset near Bunkerville, NV. Your public land or should it be for grazing illegal cattle? Photo copyright Ralph Maughan. April 2013

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides.

446 Responses to Do you have some interesting wildlife related news? April 17, 2014 edition

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      Isn’t that something. 🙂

    • avatar Lyn McCormick says:

      So who’s numbers on cougars can you trust ? And they use DNA to determine what – what killed the elk ?

      • avatar Helen McGinnis says:

        When hunters want more of their favored game species, the agencies listen. When nonhunters want less hunting of carnivores, they are ignored.

  1. avatar Lyn McCormick says:

    Beautiful landscape.

    • avatar Jeff says:

      I’m a native Kansan and have had the opportunity to see a fair number of birds in my life while hunting, though usually not chickens. I would point out that the lesser Chicken of the SW is a rarer bird in a much harsher region than the greater variety. Greater Prairie Chickens are pretty stable especially in the Flint Hills of eastern KS.

      • avatar Jeff says:

        An additional point, most of the greater variety are in eastern KS because the fling hills were never plowed and the greater is a species of the tall grass prairie. There is still unbelievable tall grass prairie stretching from NE to OK. Emporia, Strong City, Junction City etc… The thin rocky soil made it poor for farming so this is grazing country but unlike the deserts of the west, the tall grass prairie thrives on grazing and fire. The lesser’s range covers the area hit hardest by the dust bowl, SW KS, SE CO, NE NM, the panhandles of OK and TX; having just read The Worst Hard Times, and seeing report of black clouds of soil engulfing Baca County, Colorado, it doesn’t surprise me that lesser’s are struggling especially with the drought.

  2. avatar MJ says:

    A new “Monster Wolf” story is hitting the presses and will probably be promoted widely. The article itself states that they were wolf-dogs, not intact and healthy wild wolves, but the headline calls them wolves.

    Most will probably not read to the last line of the article that explains they are wolf-dogs who somewhere somehow found themselves on a deer breeding farm.

    And the madness begins again.

    http://www.northlandsnewscenter.com/news/nw-wisconsin/Two-wolves-killed-after-attacking-and-killing-many-deer-on-deer-farm-255428361.html?fb_action_ids=10152075632461188&fb_action_types=og.likes

  3. avatar Scott Slocum says:

    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has a broad-based Minnesota Wolf Management Plan, but has implemented only the parts that it like best: “Why don’t we have the livestock depredation-control BMPs we asked for? Why are we asking again?”

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      🙂 I was driving last evening around dusk and I saw something run across the highway, not too much traffic, which I thought was a small deer at first, but upon a closer look was a big, beautiful, healthy coyote! He had a beautiful coat. Almost the same colors as deer. He navigated to the median strip and across two more lanes into the woods expertly. What an obstacle course we set for wildlife, tho. Poor guy, every time I see one he or she is on the run.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Love this!!

  4. avatar Yvette says:

    Keep an eye on this one. Hopefully, all of these killing contests will eventually be illegal. Hunting is one thing; killing for recreation is entirely different than hunting. Go Project Coyote! Great work from Camilla Fox, founder of Project Coyote.

    http://www.kcet.org/news/redefine/rewild/mammals/state-gets-closer-to-ban-on-hunting-contests.html

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      Yay!

    • avatar rork says:

      Only mammalian predators – cause that makes so much sense. (Yep, sarcasm.)

      • avatar Mark L says:

        I think Camilla Fox, and project coyote in general are predator friendly….all predators. Personally, I love my rattlesnake neighbors…even though I’ve had 2 dogs bitten (both lived).

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        🙂 Where does it say only mammalian predators? I think the word ‘all’ encompasses them all. If not, believe me, they’ll have their day.

        • avatar rork says:

          “If the ban is enacted through the Commission’s rulemaking process, it would become illegal for anyone to offer money or other rewards as prizes in any organized event focusing on killing of mammalian predators such as coyotes.”

          Plainly proving you are a hypocrite isn’t my favorite tactic, since we all get labeled irrational bunny-huggers by association. The article tries to insinuate that such rules would increase the predator population, but gave no estimate of how many fewer coyotes would be killed – like if it is more than 1% or not. Getting taken seriously means not acting on trivia so much.

      • avatar Yvette says:

        Well Rork, it is called Project Coyote

        Here is a group one of my friends started a few years ago because the conditions of the round-ups in Oklahoma are bad. They do a really good job, btw, and work hard at negotiation and civil dialog with the round-uppers.

        http://riseagainstrattlesnakeroundups.com/2013/04/10/rattlesnake-roundups-are-wrong/

      • avatar JB says:

        Well, I don’t like fishing tournaments (which can be predator–e.g., bass, walleye) killing contests; but I don’t think support for a ban on walleye tournaments wouldn’t get the same support as the ban on blasting coyotes. I could be wrong, though?

  5. avatar Immer Treue says:

    MN Winter Severity Index (WSI) from November until early April.

    http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/recreation/hunting/deer/wsi_cty_map14.pdf

    Irony is, every deer hunter in the state knows (should) this. Emergency Feeding programs have been taking place through much of the state to stave off deer starvation. Yet, many from MN Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) continue to drone about the wolves are killing all the deer. Huh?

    Wolves do kill deer, and they have been killing deer since … Problem is, especially areas like NE MN were never deer habitat until opened up by logging and agriculture ~ 1860’s, and it’s a tough place for deer to make an existence- case in point Emergency Deer Feeding Program this Winter. One might believe if wolves were killing so many deer, more food would be available to survivors, ergo, less starvation and no need for emergency feeding…

    Tough to find a place around here where anything with a bud on it within reach of deer has not been nipped off. Young white and red pines are continually mowed down by deer. As soon as seedlings appear through Melting snow…gone.

    Tough winters provide a true test of a lands carrying capacity, and with the starvation of deer up here, the big limiting factor outside of man, is Mother Nature and that h word, habitat.

    • avatar Scott Slocum says:

      The carrying capacity of a semi-agricultural system of wild-game production can be quite high.

      Minnesota Deer Density Initiative: “More Deer, Better Hunting.” $15 burger baskets. Learn your role in raising deer densities. Flyer. Petition form.

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        Scott,

        Up in my neck of the woods, there’d be a lot more starving deer if people did not feed them. As one moves southwest toward and into that agricultural zone, things improve in regard to carrying capacity.

        • avatar Scott Slocum says:

          Yes, for certain. I wasn’t clear in my usage of (and in my poor attempt to coin the phrase) “semi-agricultural wild-game production system.” With all of the people who have been chiming in on the topic of residential deer feeding, food plots, baiting, emergency feeding, etc. I’ve been struck with the popular image of how people seem to care for and feed deer as a kind of semi-domestic livestock. I include the Minnesota forest zone and my familiar suburban-prairie zone. In the agricultural zone, there seems to be more of a clash of this vision for deer with the practical needs of raising crops and fully-domestic livestock for market. I would be right in the middle of it–feeding the pretty creatures–if there weren’t so many hard-headed public-safety and wildlife-preservation organizations drilling the message into my head “don’t feed the wildlife–keep ’em wild.” I think they’re right, and I follow their advice; but then I see this whole deer-feeding (and bear-feeding, etc.) industry springing up, and all I can do is wonder what in the heck is going to happen with wildlife.

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            In today’s world, very little can be kept wild. Animals are habituated and adapted to human omnipresence. Deer will graze on lawns and farmland even if humans made no move at all to feed them.

          • avatar Immer Treue says:

            Scott,

            You aid it in terms of feeding. A recent email from sportsmanship guide was filled with equipment for food plots. Many in the hunting fraternity/sorority don’t want to hear anything one might say about deer feedlot/game farm mentality, but are guilty if just that.

            The whole scenario is vertiginous. Feed deer to kill them, but feeding them means more survive, but when winters are tough, it’s a wash. Then they scream the DNR isn’t doing enough, and the wolves have an unfair advantage if running atop crusty snow. Quit feeding deer!

            • avatar Ida Lupines says:

              I don’t hunt, but in a bad winter I do leave a little food out for deer and birds will continue to. I don’t find that it keeps them from natural food. And in this fenced in, fenced off, fenced out world we live in, it’s the least we can do for them. I think too many people are followers in today’s world and need to learn to think for themselves once again. Many so-called experts tell people what to do and it should always be questioned, not blindly followed. Our wildlife is in trouble, and it isn’t only from people putting out food for them.

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                sorry that should read ‘and will continue to.’

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                I find that the deer didn’t always get the food I left out – one day I saw a group of wild turkeys clean everything out, then roost up in the trees for the night, and were gone by morning. It was the most amazing sight!

  6. Arizona House OK’s bill targeting wolf recovery program

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Interesting Jeff E. might deserve a thread Ralph, Ken?

      • avatar JEFF E says:

        If any of the scum(politicians)turned down one dollar of federal money they would at least have some credibility.

        My take is if it ever came to the feds handing over the land the respective states would be tripping all over themselves to sell as much off as possible to 1. livestock interests, and 2. all other private interests as quickly as possible.
        then whatever was left over the states would be going back to the feds with hat in hand looking for money to help “manage it.

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        demanding that the federal government turn over federal public lands….hmmm I hope the tantrums, threats and meetings don’t get the same result as in the Bundy situation, a back down by the federal government agencies involved.

        Here is another article I just saw that caught my interest and generally pissed me off
        http://azdailysun.com/news/local/state-and-regional/arizona-house-ok-s-bill-targeting-wolf-recovery-program/article_d209dc86-c5ed-11e3-a27a-001a4bcf887a.html

        states can’t pass laws that conflict with federal laws and if they do they won’t withstand a SC challenge. whats the point here except to waste tax payer money and whip up hate, fear and anger about wolves. The legislators that did this should be sanctioned

        • avatar JEFF E says:

          all it accomplishes is getting politicians votes. I believe that this surfaces about every election cycle as the parasites running for election try to out radicleize each other.

  7. avatar Mark L says:

    I have reached the same conclusion…I don’t feed the deer. I suspect ‘starving’ is a natural state for many deer…we hate to see a human starve, and assume it’s bad for deer too. It may be good for them in the long run.

  8. avatar Immer Treue says:

    Hunting For The Right Number of Deer

    http://www.startribune.com/local/255894051.html

    Sort of a continuation of what Scott Slocum and I were discussing yesterday. Forestry vs Deer (Hunters). Adding to the irony of wolf hunting in areas where deer are impacting new growth. ma’iingan has brought this up in the past, that deer have a very adverse affect on our forests.
    Tree damage around here is atrocious, in particular young red and white pine.

    • avatar Scott Slocum says:

      Here’s a de facto MN DNR solution for “deer depredation” on vegetation: deer-exclusion fencing.

      (By the way, elements within the MN DNR have been silently, passive-aggressively, resisting the idea of predator-exclusion fencing since other elements within the DNR included it in the MN Wolf Management Plan in 2001).

      MN DNR, Wildlife Section, Nick Reindl, and Kathleen Koelbl-Crews. 2011. “Energized Fencing Handbook for High-Tensile Deer Exclusion Fence”. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR). MN_DNR_Backyard_LivingWithWildlife_EnergizedFences_high-tensile.pdf.

  9. avatar Yvette says:

    I’m posting these links in this thread even though it’s more related to the Bundy threads.

    I came across this from a friend’s post. I vaguely remember reading something about the Dann sisters quite a few years back. I think this is interesting considering Bundy’s experience with his free grazing. And apparently, there is a documentary about the Dann sisters, but it’s 85.00 to even rent!

    http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/04/18/how-did-i-miss-militia-god-gave-land-settlers-not-shoshone-154472

    http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/amout.html

    I think this adds one more twist to this saga. What do we do with mess? How do we approach this?

  10. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    I was reading an interesting article waiting at the vet’s office today, about Yellowstone Park as a living laboratory for evolution (scroll through the articles until you see the map):

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/212282764/Smithsonian-Magazine-January-2014

  11. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    Montana Uses Grant to Buy Grizzly Bear Habitat
    http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/wireStory/montana-grant-buy-grizzly-bear-habitat-23410748
    The Montana Land Board on Monday approved a $345,000 purchase of 320 acres of threatened grizzly bear habitat to add to the Blackleaf Wildlife Management Area in Teton County.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      why did the conservation group sell the land? Anyone know

      • avatar rork says:

        “The Conservation Fund originally purchased the land to prevent it from being sold to landowners who may not be interested in protecting the bear habitat, state officials said.”
        That’s how it works near me too. Land comes up for sale, and land conservancy type of group buys it – they are nimble. Later they sell it to the state (or such), often at a loss.

  12. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    A new study finds that Wyoming’s Red Desert mule deer trek 300 miles each year. En route, they leap over and wriggle under 100 fences, dash across five highways and scale 11,000-foot mountains.

    Wow! The Mule Deer Triathalon!:)

  13. avatar John says:

    Looks like Bill Hoppe is killing wildlife again: shoots bull bison near gardener in self defense

    http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/wildlife/article_8aae5ce0-c4f8-11e3-9656-001a4bcf887a.html#disqus_thread

    • avatar Scott Slocum says:

      Yes, and it looks like there’s good cause and plenty of material for a Wildlife News profile of this activist. Until then, readers can get the idea by searching the Bozeman Daily Chronicle for articles that mention his name. In addition to this shooting of the bison, the Spring 2013 series of articles on what seems to be a setup for a sheep-depredation incident and a lethal response.

  14. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/27/magazine/the-rights-of-man-and-beast.html

    This is an article based on a lawyer’s long term strategy to apply the principles of habeus corpus to protecting non-human clients. For those of you that are not familiar with this doctrine I have provided an appropriate quote from Wikipedia, (the source of ill repute and much discussion here of late) “The principle of habeas corpus ensures that a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention—that is, detention lacking sufficient cause or evidence. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to the prisoner’s aid. This right originated in the English legal system, and is now available in many nations. It has historically been an important legal instrument safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary state action.” I think a habeus corpus argument is extremely fascinating. Why should non humans that evidence autonomous behaviors, grieve, and illustrate the capacities that we ascribe to human beings be held captive against their free will and used under conditions that cause them excessive and irreparable harm? The habeus corpus argument relies on proving that his non human clients do indeed have autonomy and exhibit the type of behaviors and intelligence that humans have. What is fascinating is that now those claims are much more persuasive as research is illustrating that high levels of sentience, sociality and intelligence are much more common characteristics and qualities in many species than previously understood. For the first time its easier to use scientific data and research to provide expert testimony either by affidavit or on the stand to support that contention. I can already hear the howls of protest against in approaching animal rights issues by using a legal strategy that provides animals a legal status on par with humans. But the whole thing is so damn fascinating. Reading about the legal strategy is immensely interesting. The article describes the lawyers strategy to bring the case to a state court where he has a better chance at gaining a more sympathetic ear and hence getting a foot in the door to an appeal. The idea being that he will find a judge willing to step outside the traditional arguments that would hold there are other avenues available to protect non humans. In the defense of Tommy (a primate) the lawyer did indeed argue before a sympathetic conservative republican judge. While the judge was sympathetic to the argument he was not yet willing to go up the habeus corpus slippery slope for non humans. Yet the lawyer was ecstatic because the case allowed him to proceed to appellate court. It got me to thinking about the many doors that a successful line of common law established by wining individual cases based on a habeus corpus defense of non humans might open. I think there would be enough scientific evidence that wolves and coyotes, foxes and other furbearing animals exhibit autonomy, intelligence, fear, pain and suffering and that affidavits could be produced as they are for primates. Could a habeus corpus ever be used in the defense of wildlife from their incarceration from penning, traps, snares, and fur harvesting facilities? wow what a fascinating thing to ponder. Anyhow its great reading.

    • avatar Yvette says:

      That is fascinating. Did you read this NYT article on dogs? http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/opinion/sunday/dogs-are-people-too.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

      Here is the 2014 study, it says it’s in press.
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376635714000473

      I’m thinking if they can show this in domestic dogs through MRIs then it may well transer to coyotes, wolves and foxes. The same type of experiment would not work on wildlife, though, but if their brains function in a similar enough manner, the possibilities………

      • avatar Kathleen says:

        Yvette, if you’re talking possibilities, pigs are the most intelligent domestic animal (if intelligence is the criterion that matters). Imagine the economic and social upheaval pig personhood would create–now you’re messing with the animal industrial complex…and food. (Vegan disclaimer: Not *my* food!)

        • avatar WM says:

          Ever read Roald Dahl’s short story, “Pig?” (He is the same guy who wrote “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and husband of actress Patricia Neal.

          Perhaps there is justice in your world, or at least his.

        • avatar Yvette says:

          I was thinking since the study was performed on the domesticated dog and they are in the same genus that it is possible other canines have similar brain functions.

          Yeah, I’ve heard and read how smart pigs are, but recently there’s been discussion on the crow’s level of intelligence. That is one smart bird! We will never shut down the ‘pork’ industry, or any of the other meat industries, at least, not in my lifetime.

    • avatar Kathleen says:

      How sad that they have to be “enough like us” before they’re given legal (and moral) consideration…when sentience alone should be the criterion.(“The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?” ~Jeremy Bentham, British philosopher, jurist, social reformer, 1748-1832.) But it’s a start.

      http://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/

  15. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://www.outdoornews.com/April-2014/Bear-hunters-donate-100000/#.U1RTStizER8.facebook

    safari club, trophy hunting groups buying policy in Michigan

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      This is a sad case
      voters wanted to protect wolves and special interests, Casperson and the trophy hunting lobbies are buying the right to kill wolves after a big detour in democratic traditions in Michigan. I am deeply disturbed by this.

      • avatar Ida Lupine says:

        Yes. Who’d have thought that the Great Lakes states would be worse than the Rocky Mountain states?

        The same bs about science. Should read making up lies and lots of cash. I hope these bums get thrown out of office in November.

        • avatar Ida Lupine says:

          Dusterwinkle told MBHA members that the donation is designed to ensure the CPWM effort is a success, and to send a message to anti-hunters that Michiganders prefer to manage wildlife by way of science making up lies and lots of cash, rather than a popular vote.

        • avatar Louise Kane says:

          I’m not sure MI is worse than Idaho. I think the process was subverted/hijacked. When the state enacted the hunt, Michiganders were largely in support of protecting wolves and this was evidenced by the quick turn around in collecting hundreds of thousands of votes for the referendum that would have allowed the issue of hunting wolves to be voted on.

          Caspersen, a UP senator was however waiting with legislation that essentially overturned the referendum, or made it moot. Even then there was a great deal of support to continue to rally for wolves. The lines were jammed to the state reps urging the reps not to vote for the legislation. An aide in the governors office told me that the office was jammed with outraged citizens who were against having the referendum process taken from them.

          Michigan has a long history in using the referendum process to determine wildlife policy. Caspersen’s legislation was clearly designed to subvert the democratic traditions in MI. The referendum signatures were turned in and qualified in early July and by the 4th of July (I think) Caspersen introduced the legislation. For some reason politics won out and the legislation was passed even against much opposition. When the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Campaign decided, after much deliberation, to run another referendum that would overturn the legislation the trophy hunters and other lobbies started another referendum.

          In a gross and derelict misrepresentation, the organization calls itself, Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management. The campaign, they run is based in the usual fear mongering hype but they have really thrown up a good smoke screen for anyone that might have been on the fence. They claim its best to leave wildlife management to the scientists and people trained to manage wildlife.

          This is very confusing to voters because most don’t understand that the DNR is a politically appointed body in MI not a group of scientists or experienced “managers”. If they get the votes, the legislation would make the Michigan Natural Resource Commissions the only authority to designate game species and issue fisheries orders. And of course this would mean wolves are hunted and probably would face increasingly severe measures as in the other states.

          The sports hunting group, aka citizens for professional wildlife management claims, “This is about making sure that decisions about fish and wildlife management are made by relying on sound science and the recommendations of biologists, not activists or television commercials,” Merle Shepard, chairman of CPWM, said in a press release. This is unfortunately very far from the truth. The turn of events that is happening is particularly sad and disturbing to me because democracy is supposed to work. It relies on truth, transparency and people having a voice through a legislative process.

          One could say both sides are practicing the referendum process but one side cheated and lied to get to the referendum process and continues to do so. I think the people of Michigan really did desire to see wolves protected but there is a saturation point when working for a cause that seems hopeless is reached.

          When democracy is thwarted, twice in this instance, by special interests I think hopelessness could very well prevail. Not so many people are savvy enough to understand the politicking, So perhaps now they question is the DNR the best place to manage wolves as they are the professionals. Or they are just tired and fed up either way the people of Michigan were cheated from having a vote on the issue, and wolves continue to be scapegoated.

          In one sense, perhaps you are right that this is an example of a state that has as bad an itching to kill wolves as Idaho but I think its more likely that special interests are very determined not to let this state succeed in protecting them as the dominoes could fall in other states.

          I am very disturbed that so much money is being spent by the Safari Club and the trophy hunting industries to overcome a legal referendum designed to kill wolves. This says a lot to me and its not encouraging.

          This was the one state where I felt wolves would get a reprieve. Is it too much to ask for another referendum to protect wolves? I hate to see the enemy win this round and the people of Michigan have the chance to show the world that not all states where wolves live are determined to let crazy wolf hating policy makers or minority interests run the show.

          • avatar Louise Kane says:

            two corrections…sorry
            n one sense, perhaps you are right that this is an example of a state that has as bad an itching to kill wolves as Idaho, but I think its more likely that special interests are very determined to prevent Michigan from voting on whether or not to hunt wolves. If wolves are protected, the dominoes could fall in other states. I am very disturbed that so much money is being spent by the Safari Club and the trophy hunting industries to continue their referendum designed to kill wolves. This says a lot to me and its not encouraging. This was the one state where I felt wolves would get a reprieve. Is it too much to ask Keep Michigan Wolves Protected to go another round to protect wolves? I hate to see the enemy win this round. I hate to see the people of Michigan denied the chance to show the world that not all states where wolves live are determined to let crazy wolf hating policy makers or minority interests run the show.

          • avatar rork says:

            PS: Very good summary of a messy history Louise.
            One reason politics may have won out is that we have Republicans running our legislative bodies lately. Many come from areas where the people mostly think wolves are no good, about as bad as liberals, or that man in the white house. Plays well at home for them. From the ivory towers of Ann Arbor it’s hard to understand the attitudes near Grand Rapids (our bible belt), or rural places, or the U.P. “Because the liberal bunny-huggers hate it” was something I heard several times.

            • avatar Louise Kane says:

              Rork interesting persepctive. I had a lot of contact with some legislators aides as I was active in that campaign and it was surprising to me that the law passed. I did what you call a totally anecdotal tally as I was making calls and asked the legislative aides if they could tell me which way the legislators were leaning, and what the calls that were coming in were reflecting. Many many staffers said that they had gotten more calls on this issue than in any other area. The majority of calls, except in a couple of districts, were against hunting and the legislation. I also got a couple of amazing e mails from some of aides. I was really surprised when the legislation passed. Another interesting aspect of calling and speaking to the aides or offices was that not once could I reach Caspersen’s office or was a call returned. I probably tried 40 times over the course of the campaign. You’d think someone that introduced legislation to overturn a democratic referendum 4 days after 257,000 votes/ signatures were verified would have the cahoonas to answer his phone, or at least have staff available to do so.

            • avatar Louise Kane says:

              weird how liberal is such a derogatory term in so many circles. Another meaning of the word tolerant….

              and bunny hugger. If you think about those words what a bizarre accusation to make against a person.

              Strange mud slinging tactics. Hey you you son of a bitch. I’m talking to you. Stop trying to protect my rights to receive medical care, equal pay and should I ever need it for stamps and by the way quit being so nice to those damn bunnies.

    • avatar WM says:

      Louise,

      ++The anti-hunting ballot initiatives, led by the Humane Society of the United States and its local front group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, would ask voters to repeal the specific laws granting the NRC authority to name game species passed by the Legislature last year.

      Beyond Michigan, HSUS is also working to repeal hunting in other states like Maine, …++

      That was my take-away message from the article. And, while I find myself mostly in the middle on predator issues, HSUS animal rights advocacy, sometimes cloaked as something else narrower, is like fingernails across the chalk board. And, I will fight those sneaky lying little buggers wherever they stick their “stop hunting of all types” noses.

      • avatar Scott Slocum says:

        As I understand the situation in Michigan, the goal is to return the authority for designating game species to the legislature, where it’s always been. Apparently, that authority was shifted to the NRC in an attempt to insulate it from voters and their elected representatives.

        • avatar WM says:

          I have always found it interesting that on the one hand some folks say legislatures are the worst place to make wildlife decisions (examples ID, MT, WY), and the best, apparently MI. I tend to think the popular vote on wildlife decisions ought to be insulated from legislative (or Congressional) whims in exchange for a “vote,” as the pendulum swings back and forth on popular issues, like wolves, bear and cougar. Administrative agencies/departments ought to be allowed to do what they do with only minimal legislative guidance, and mostly grounded in science. The stakeholder base could be expanded a bit however.

          • avatar Louise Kane says:

            “I tend to think the popular vote on wildlife decisions ought to be insulated from legislative (or Congressional) whims in exchange for a “vote,” as the pendulum swings back and forth on popular issues, like wolves, bear and cougar. ”

            I can appreciate your pendulum swings argument yet federal legislation could address some of those concerns in the form of a national predator conservation act. In Michigan and in other states “insulating” wildlife policy from the popular vote just means that hunters and predator haters will trophy hunt predators without challenge

          • avatar Scott Slocum says:

            Hear, hear: “The stakeholder base could be expanded a bit however.”

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        “I will fight those sneaky lying little buggers wherever they stick their “stop hunting of all types” noses.”

        and what of those sneaky lying little buggers that trash thousands of comments and create wildlife policy for the few with lithe or no thought to long term and sustainable goals of managing wildlife in an ecologically responsible manner?

        who is supposed to fight them?

      • avatar rork says:

        As I have argued many times in MI, just cause HSUS supports an issue, doesn’t make it bad. Like being against dog fighting. MUCC uses stop-HSUS rhetoric lots, though the logic is very bad.

        • avatar Louise Kane says:

          +1 Rork
          WM is there any wildlife/animal rights protection organization you would support. Are they all sneaky little lying buggers? Don’t you think some of the “hunting” practices that are being claimed as hunting might be curtailed. What about killing contests, penning, hounding, trapping and snaring, excessively long seasons, predator persecution. Can’t one hunt but also be against some of the more vile practices?

          • avatar WM says:

            See, that is the interesting part, Louise. Because they go off the deep-end with their strident animal rights agenda (to stop hunting all together), I cannot support the organization as a whole, even the more reasonable activities you mention which I would like to see reduced or stopped. That is where it gets messy. Do recall HSUS was responsible for MN (and the WGL DPS) wolves remaining on the ESA for about 10 years after the MN threshold for delisting was accomplished. You see, HSUS never wanted them delisted – EVER- and has said so, and used every trick legal trick they could think of to keep them on the ESA. They were not interested in achieving the objective of the law – they wanted a full blown wolf protection act, which IS NOT what the ESA is supposed to accomplish. So, some folks ought to be just as pissed at HSUS for abusing the law. That, by the way, will be used as another data point to change the law, and I bet the DPS issue gets special attention when they get around to messing with it, as I expect they will in the next decade or so (sooner if R’s get more seats in the Senate).

            • avatar Louise Kane says:

              WM if indeed you do abhor the more awful aspects of hunting as discussed, isn’t your attitude toward animal rights NGO’s a bit of the bite off nose to spite face.

              Perhaps HSUS imagined a scenario that is being played out now? Perhaps, like many, HSUS wants to ensure that trophy hunting of wolves does not occur.

              I admit, I am of the camp that doesn’t want to see wolves killed for any reason but I understand that there will be some management actions taken against wolves that predate or threaten humans. I can live with that if non lethal options have been tried and exhausted and if only the offending animal is killed. I do not understand or support trophy hunting of wolves ever. I think its destructive ecologically and legitimizes bad, dangerous, anti predator sentiments that don’t seem to die out.

              HSUS exists for a very practical and useful reason, animals wild or not are largely legally unprotected. I understand your position about the ESA and that its not intended to keep species listed indefinitely but can we really say that the threat to wolves has passed? The history of persecution persists and the ESA in this instance is not protecting them as it should.

              Could you concede that the ESA was not intended, either, to allow this perverse return to masochistic wolf management?

              • avatar WM says:

                ++WM if indeed you do abhor the more awful aspects of hunting as discussed, isn’t your attitude toward animal rights NGO’s a bit of the bite off nose to spite face. ++

                Not in my case. It is a personal journey I guess. Unfortunately or not, I would rather pursue the objections to other animal protection issues which I believe need attention, WITHOUT assistance from HSUS/PETA/PAWS etc. because I KNOW they will continue their efforts to abolish all hunting.

                ++Could you concede that the ESA was not intended, either, to allow this perverse return to masochistic wolf management?++

                It was all part of the reintroduction/repopulation plans, and state management plans Louise. I also think you miss the part where wolves just don’t stop reproducing, and where populations are likely to increase… and increase… and increase in some areas before achieving some density equilibrium of sorts. Every effort at reintroduction/repopulation of which I am aware seems to suggest a hunting season would be required to stay at desired recovery levels – NRM, WGL, WA and OR so far. Then there are the states that don’t want them at all. So, UT and ND, for example will not want adjacent states to have so many as to encourage in-migration. AZ and NM aren’t going to want that many either, ultimately. So, get used to it, killing wolves to achieve some locally social tolerance level will happen and it won’t all be the ones that get into trouble.

                ESA as currently written is interested only in threat of extinction and habitat upon which species rely/require to avoid risk of extinction. Sorry, but that is a paraphrased objective of the law as it applies to wolves. Some folks just disagree on how many there should be – but everywhere there will be some killed for reasons other than getting in trouble. The denial within the ranks of some strident advocates is …. well …. just plain astounding.

              • avatar Louise Kane says:

                WM where to start.
                ” It was all part of the reintroduction/repopulation plans,”. That recovery plan is a flawed and irresponsible concession that never should have been agreed to. If those numbers were best available science then they are not now. Also the the recovery plan outlines minimal numbers not optimal numbers. I think it equally astounding that anyone would defend that recover plan.

                RE: ” I also think you miss the part where wolves just don’t stop reproducing, and where populations are likely to increase… and increase… and increase in some areas before achieving some density equilibrium of sorts.” MN populates remained stable for many years (10) or so, Michigan numbers seem to have reached some equilibrium and I believe Ralph once wrote that he believed Idaho populations would have soon reached that equilibrium if the wolves had not been hunted. Isn’t outward migration desirable in achieving ESA objectives …..or is that language about inhabiting former ranges just BS to be disregarded.

                RE: “Every effort at reintroduction/repopulation of which I am aware seems to suggest a hunting season would be required to stay at desired recovery levels – NRM, WGL, WA and OR so far.”
                desired recovery levels or minimum threshold, these are two very different objectives. I wonder that an interpretation of the ESA would include desired objectives to mean minimum populations.

                RE: “Then there are the states that don’t want them at all. So, UT and ND, for example will not want adjacent states to have so many as to encourage in-migration. AZ and NM aren’t going to want that many either, ultimately. So, get used to it, killing wolves to achieve some locally social tolerance level will happen and it won’t all be the ones that get into trouble.”
                Shouldn’t the get used to it part be directed at the states that want to ignore federal legislative provisions to restore native species back to their habitats. Thats the purpose of the ESA not to molly coddle predator hating states that never want to change the destructive policies of the past. I think these states should “get used to it:”

                RE: “ESA as currently written is interested only in threat of extinction and habitat upon which species rely/require to avoid risk of extinction. ” threat of extinction always came from humans and it still exists. what better proof than Idaho.

                RE: “Some folks just disagree on how many there should be – but everywhere there will be some killed for reasons other than getting in trouble. The denial within the ranks of some strident advocates is …. well …. just plain astounding.”

                Your defense of current policy denies the spirit and intent of the ESA.

            • avatar Louise Kane says:

              WM, Dale Gobel wrote for the Harvard law review a very concise argument about the “recovery” plan for wolves and why the treatment of wolves under the ESA was flawed. I’m sure you are familiar with it but for those that are not you can read this excerpt in its entirety in Of Wolves and Welfare Ranching.

              MY point is the Wolf Recovery Plan is not the Holy Grail you make it out to be, its a contentious document that would not pass muster today and should not have been accepted when it was drafted.

              From Mr Gobel, “When it enacted the ESA, Congress endorsed a biological perspective as a basis for the preservation of threatened and en..:. dangered species: the Act was intended “to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend may be conserved, [and] to provide a program for the conservation of such endangered species and threatened species.”71 The Act therefore required a species to be listed as endangered or threatened on the basis of biological information72 and the accompanying congressional reports focused on “the need for biological diversity.”73

              In 1982, Congress reemphasized and strengthened the biological basis of the Act by specifically precluding the Secretary from considering economic factors in the listing decision. That decision, Congress stressed, is to be based “solely upon biological criteria.”74

              As the Supreme Court has stated, Congress intended to protect listed species “whatever the cost.”75
              In contrast, the authors of the Wolf Recovery Plan accord economics the dominant role. The criteria for selecting recovery areas and for defining the boundaries of the three management zones within each recovery area stress the potential conflicts with other land uses rather than the species’ biological requirements.76

              For example, the criteria for designating core wolf habitat (Zone I) is stated in terms of land ownership and uses: less than ten percent of the lands should be private, non-railroad lands and less than twenty percent of the lands should be grazed by livestock.77 While economics may be considered in the designation of critical habitat,78 under the ESA economics remains secondary to biology because areas may be excused from critical habitat only if the Secretary determines that the exclusion will not result in the extinction of the species: biology thus is a limit on not economics.79

              The Wolf Recovery Plan, however, does not designate any critical habitat.80 Furthermore, its authors repeated emphasis on potential social and economic impacts as the key decisional elements reverses the Act’s requirement that biology limit economics.81

              The dominance of economic considerations is also apparent in the proposed wolf management strategies. Within each recovery area, the Wolf Recovery Plan proposes a concentric, three-zone management scheme with decreasing protection as wolves move out of Zone I. For example, in Zone I, management decisions are to “favor the needs of the wolf when wolves or wolf habitat needs and other land-use values compete.”82 On the other hand, in the buffer zone, when “wolf populations and/or habitat use and other high-priority land uses are mutually exclusive, the other land uses may prevail in management considerations.”83 Finally, in Zone III, other land uses are controlling: habitat requirements and “coor76 dination of multiple use activities with wolf management are not management considerations.”84

              It is difficult to square this management scheme with the ESA’s emphasis on biology and habitat protection. While the Act includes a procedure for designating critical habitat,8S the Wolf Recovery Plan was not formulated in compliance with that procedure.86 This is troubling since, as Congress recognized, conservationoflistedspeciesrequirestheconservation ofthe ecosystems upon which the species depend.87

              The Plan’s failings are, however, more fundamnetal than simply a failure to designate critical habitat: its repeated preference for economic intrests over the biological needs of the species is directly contrary to the ESA’s requirement that species be protected “whatever the cost.”88 The statutory goal is to establish and maintain a viable population of wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains-not to insure that wolf recovery does not affect other land uses. In fact, the ESA prohibits other land uses that may take or jeopardize wolves.

              The management strategies of the Wolf Recovery Plan reflect FWS’s apparent desire to placate the western livestock industry which depends upon public land grazing and associated subsidies.89 A consistent undertone in the Plan is the presumption that cattle and sheep rather than wolves are the rightful users of the public lands. This presumption forms the basis for the use oflethal control measures: “wolves must be killed to protect lawfully present livestock.”90 Yet the fact that livestock is lawfully present is not the point. The Agency’s statement blurs the distinction between a sale of grass and the industry’s desire for a predator-free environment.
              This desire for a predator-free environment is a desire to shift some of the costs of producing beef and wool to the public by forcing the public to bear the cost of protecting the livestock.91”

              I think this publication provides good examples of why that recovery plan is inherently screwed up.

              • avatar WM says:

                Louise,

                I am sorry, but I don’t have time to respond to/refute your points above. I disagree on several, however. Keep in mind Professor Goble wrote the article you cite in 1991-92. The NRM wolf management plan and the WGL repopulation plan (written in 1987), but implemented with modification as presented in the 1994 draft and final EIS’s to some degree post date it, but surely considered any impediments that would keep it from meeting legal requirements. Economics/social tolerance was always an implied driving force of compromise for even nominal acceptance by WY, ID and MT. Without it. Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I bet any wolves reintroduced outside YNP would have been dead on the ground within a year had the plan been more stringent in ways Goble (you) might suggest. I bet he knows that, too.

                Courts which have reviewed the plan as against objectors and the plans/delistings have gone forward. So, I don’t take much stock in your wouldn’t meet muster /really screwed up plan arguments, and disagree on both legal and biological aspects.

                And, it certainly seems to me that a thousand wolves in the NRM with range expansions into neighboring WA and OR will keep them off the ESA list. Professor Goble is a purist in his evaluation. I would think he would be equally as critical should he do similar analyses on the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Solid Waste Management Act, RCRA, and Superfund – even though those acts treat economics of implementation aspects formally. And, you would likely be shocked at how real world implementation of all these laws to some degree grossly defy Congressional mandate/intent.

                And, the more the ESA gets pushed by those saying “you aren’t following the law,” I put my money on changes to the ESA that eliminate that objection, because the new law will be more lenient and less ambiguous (disfavoring environmental interests in my view).

              • avatar WM says:

                Edit: Forget reference to WGL wolf management plan. That is a separate issue, but runs somewhat of a parallel path for repopulation from MN to neighboring WI and MI.

  16. avatar rork says:

    And in other MI wolf news, the census is finally out:
    http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MIDNR/bulletins/b301d0
    636 wolves they estimate, where they got 658 in 2013, and that was a few less than in 2011 (687). The folks crying wolf all the time (insinuating the population will continue to grow exponentially) can now shut up maybe. A couple of people here have been saying we’d probably hit peak wolf already.

    “Since wolves returned to the Upper Peninsula in the 1980s, the population steadily grew until recent years when growth began to level off, which is what wildlife biologists expect to see when a recovered population approaches its biological carrying capacity.”
    I might add “as they expected but never spoke up about”.

    Whether the capacity is due to density dependent factors in the wolves themselves (e.g. killing each other, having less pups), lack of prey, or due to human poachers, or some combination, is not so clear.
    No word on proposed hunt for this year, yet.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      It would make some sense that the population continued to decline after the first hunt…..hopefully this data will help in preventing another hunt. But seems unlikely given the usual trajectory of management decisions when hunting wolves is involved. Some people like to kill wolves, like to kill wolves and like to kill wolves whether or not a good reason exists. Be nice to see one damned population left alone and see what they do.

      • avatar rork says:

        The hunters killed 22 wolves.
        That’s placebo as far as altering the population goes I think.

  17. avatar Liliana Francisco says:

    In the midst of the Ukraine economic and political turmoil, thousands of Ukrainian zoo animals are in dire straits because government funding for their food was cut off, leaving the animals to starve if aid is not provided by people of good will. The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization is currently the only organization that is helping with this issue. They have been trying to raise money to help pay for food and medical supplies for these animals but they still have a long way to go.

    http://ens-newswire.com/2014/04/07/ukraine-turmoil-leaves-zoo-animals-starving/

  18. avatar Louise Kane says:

    Leslie, my husband Tom’s bees arrive today. The last week has been clear, beautiful spring weather leaving us hopeful and uplifted after the bleak, bone chilling winter weather. We got the news late last night that Tom’s bees were arriving sometime today. Starting on my walk out on the bay flats my dog and i heard the first rumbles of thunder and watched as the sky got dark and stormy. An hour later we were pelted with driving rain, howling wind and a cold snap. The prep for those bees has been pretty involved. It feels like dignitaries are arriving. I hope they survive the transition into this cold wet, not ideal! Tom ended up with a hive of California bees and two Carniolan. He is out in a pair of fishing boots and rain gear, worrying over the hives. A normally sane man he has the look of an obsessed man. Is this a part of bee keeping? wild eyed obsession?

    • avatar Yvette says:

      “who needs to kill 2000 birds?”

      A few adjectives come to mind; sociopaths, insane, deviate, and deranged.

  19. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    …but everywhere there will be some killed for reasons other than getting in trouble. The denial within the ranks of some strident advocates is …. well …. just plain astounding.

    WM, not to me it isn’t. it is precisely for this reason that wolf advocates would like to see some kind of special protection for wolves and other predators, because there is so much irrationality about them and their function, and they are persecuted for reasons other than getting into trouble with livestock, and overkill of them. With humans’ reproduction rate, it is laughable to use that as a reason to bring their numbers down, unless you are of the mind that people outrank any other form of life. In that case, every other life form on earth is in jeopardy. Denial is believing that in taking protections away, that the wolves will be properly managed.

    Livestock is the only reason I can understand for ‘managing’ wolves – if they can be relied on to be honest at all times.

    • avatar Mark L says:

      Georgia is next…just passed.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      This is another tool in an arsenal where advanced technology against wild animals equals unfair. How many semi automatics, suppressors, cross bows, aerial gunning adventures, poisons, traps, snares and other techniques can populations of wildlife withstand. and why should this be the fate of most wild animals? I especially hate to see the increasing numbers of posts by creepy goons that act like wild animals are made for target practice. Suppressors make it easier to kill more animals and to be stealthier. Someone please explain to me why anyone needs a suppressor, oh yes to protect one’s ears while you get the next shot in with the semi automatic and get to take out the animal next to the first one you kill.

  20. avatar sleepy says:

    Interesting article on how deer in Czechoslovakia still avoid the area where electrified fences existed during the cold war.

    “Almost 25 years after the iron curtain came down, central European deer still balk at crossing areas where there used to be electrified fences, scientists have found.

    A seven-year study in Sumava national park, in the Czech Republic, discovered that red deer were still wary of spots where the then Czechoslovakia had three parallel electrified fences patrolled by heavily armed guards.

    Nearly 500 people were killed when they tried to escape the country across the frontier with Germany, and deer were killed too.

    The average life expectancy for deer is 15 years and none living now would have encountered the barrier.

    “But the border still plays a role for them and separates the two populations,” Sustr said.

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/apr/23/czech-deer-iron-curtain-fences?CMP=twt_gu

  21. avatar Yvette says:

    What is going on with Arizona and the Mexican grey wolf? It looks like AZ wants to manage this ESA with their own state plan. NM is involved, too.

    This sounds awful, but what are the thoughts from the wildlife pros? I think the population is only 83.

    http://www.mexicanwolves.org/index.php/news/1237/51/Press-Release-Arizona-Game-and-Fish-Endorses-Plan-to-Ramp-Up-Killing-of-Endangered-Wolves

    http://www.mexicanwolves.org/uploads/Game&Fish_Alternative.pdf

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      Yvette the governor vetoed the first legislation to pass. Im not sure if the other two bills were voted on yet, but they are expected to be vetoed. The Governor made it very clear that she sees the bills as an overreaching of state authority and a violation of federal law, as she rightly should. It was grandstanding by politicians, good to see her squash those ill conceived bills.

    • avatar Jeff N. says:

      This is interesting. Governor Brewer just vetoed a bill passed by state the state legislature allowing ranchers a more liberal means to kill wolves, rightfully claiming that federal law has precedence over state law in regard to the ESA.

      This is just more posturing from Aritucky.

    • avatar aves says:

      Thanks for posting this, Yvette.

      The Governor has indeed vetoed two bills, one allowing ranchers to kill any wolf they wanted and a second that would have billed the federal government for livestock losses.

      The proposal you linked to is yet another development. The AZ Game and Fish Department has already sent it on to the USFWS for consideration. I haven’t had time to read it in full yet, but there’s a huge contrast in how the Lobos of the SW site portrays it and how the AZGFD does:

      http://azgfd.net/artman/publish/NewsMedia/Game-and-Fish-Commission-votes-to-support-alternative-on-Mexican-wolf-conservation-developed-by-large-stakeholder-partnership.shtml

  22. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    A black bear weighing 490 pounds was killed in southern Oregon for killing a heifer.

    http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/outdoors/2014/apr/23/oregon-rancher-kills-500-pound-black-bear/

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      🙂 I love the title of the site.

      The birds in my yard are all feeding each other; it must be nesting season. Cutest thing ever!

      Have a great day, all –

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      I’ve seen this kind of attack on grey whales by orcas in documentaries. Its hard to see for sure. I wish they had focused on seals instead. Not that I have anything against seals just that since they are protected by the Marine Mammal Act they are really abundant, not so with the Grey Whales. I wonder if any other whales from the pod tried to protect the mother and baby, it did not say.

  23. avatar LM says:

    Report: WILD HORSE POPULATION GROWTH

    http://rtfitchauthor.com/2014/04/28/report-wild-horse-population-growth/

    Interesting report: cites a LESS than 10% population growth rate for wild horses & 7% for burros.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      Nancy this is from Jim Robertson’s Exposing the Big Game blog on the sea lion branding. A disgusting event. What wildlife division and employee came up with this atrocity?

      ” The hot iron is something right out of the Inquisition era. But while the SpanishInquisition was a necessary evil to prevent heresy and extract confessions from witches, branding sea lions serves no real purpose. Oh sure, the modern day inquisitors will argue that the tortuous process helps them decide which individual sea lions are most responsible for eating salmon at the dam upriver.

      What you don’t hear them say is that sea lions have been eating salmon for 50 million years, ever since they left the land and evolved back into sea creatures. For the ensuing millennia, everyone got along just fine—until humans came by to fuck things up.

      First, the humans strung nets and placed weirs out into the salmon’s migration path. Next they built canneries along the Columbia River; and while some were busy killing off the salmon in droves, sealers murdered all the seals and sea lions they could find to fuel the booming, psychotic fur trade. Other sea lions were rendered into oil by the equally-debased whaling industry.

      The many dams built along the river were the coup de grace for any salmon still surviving the ever-advancing human onslaught. Not only do spawning salmon have to make it up past the massive new impediments, but warmer water behind the manmade reservoirs is hard on the young fish fry. And then there was the threat of the dam turbines…

      Now, when a few sea lions are seen eating fish—as they’ve always done—they’re practically burned at the stake.”

    • avatar Yvette says:

      I just read that blog and the link in it reporting on the F&W plans to brand and cull. That was from 2013, but I guess they are still handling the sea lions with the same branding plan. How do they even know that the sea lions can handle hot branding? Everyday there is a new atrocious plan on how to “manage’ wildlife. One of the commenters on the blog hit spot on: We’re not managing for wildlife, we’re managing wildlife for people. Land, sea or sky matters not.

      So the plan is to brand sea lions to discern which ones eat the most salmon since dams have devastated salmon populations? Something like that?

      Some days I wish I were one of those that is more concerned about Kim Kardashion’s latest fashion faux pas, or whether George Clooney is actually going to get married. How simple life would be.

  24. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://ida.convio.net/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=34281&em_id=33201.0&printer_friendly=1

    for those living in California – the Point Reyes elk herd being considered for “management” at request of ranchers.

    I just wrote to a friend that my husband took footage of this herd from a helicopter for a documentary we were working on. The elk are particularly spectacular in this setting. I wonder why it is that whenever an animal numbers enough in a population to be a food source for other wildlife and to be seen and felt as a regular occurrence instead of a ghostlike apparition that you might catch a glimpse of on a rare occasion, a wildlife agency has to call for “management” aka hunt. Its so damn discouraging and frustrating.

  25. avatar Yvette says:

    I found this interesting since I had not previously heard of the federal state land exchanges.

    http://www.martenlaw.com/newsletter/20140425-utah-recreational-land-exchange?utm_source=Marten+Law+News&utm_campaign=31374b9abd-Marten_Law_News_April_29_20144_28_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ff00f67215-31374b9abd-222408389

    Critics of the exchange process allege that BLM and the public are frequently shortchanged through an exchange process that allows proponents of an exchange to convey smaller parcels of land with “special environmental values” for larger tracts of public land that lie in the path of development or have significant future development potential. While the law requires the public to receive “equal value” in an exchange, the value of land is inherently subjective. Endangered species, clean water, open space, wetlands, wildlife habitat and riparian areas are not conducive to valuation through traditional methods. In many past cases, land valuations and the federal appraisal process have resulted in lower federal land values to the detriment of the public and have created windfalls for private exchange proponents.

    The bolded sentence is concerning. I wonder what administrative and policy initiatives have been proposed to resolve this concern. It makes me wonder if anyone is attempting to find a way to place appropriate value to these habitats and items that are difficult to place a monetary value on in the traditional sense.

    Fourth, URLEA provided for a reservation by the U.S. of an interest in revenues from future oil shale production on certain lands.

    Interesting. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
    Lastly, note footnote #2. It sounds like this land change may be beneficial to the sage grouse, but it also appears the sage grouse is losing habitat that may be targeted for oil & gas development by URLEA.

  26. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    A poster was commenting about the Chesapeake Bay the other day – it would be an absolute sin if that area was damaged by human activity. It should be protected. We almost relocated to that area and I’m almost disappointed we didn’t. It is a major, major bird flyway.

    Whether it’s ravens, crabs, otters – would any miniscule gains offset the major problem with human encroachment and development on sensitive wildlands and endangered wildlife?

    In Alaska, recently recovered otters are being blamed for reductions in shellfish numbers – but those floating cities (and disease carriers) cruise ships are allowed to dump all of their raw sewage and other wastes at sea because they don’t want to pay a fee in port, and rather than lose their economic influence, they are not penalized. I personally would not be caught dead on one until they resolve this.

    • avatar rork says:

      It should be protected means many millions of people trying to do the right thing, even if they live hundreds of miles from the bay. Same thing in Michigan, where the water from your yard and local businesses and farms will end up in Lake Erie, but small communities upstream of the worst places do not always address the problem, or think about it.

  27. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://www.wjfw.com/localnews.html?SKU=20140429105609&textsize=small

    Wisconsin’s population of wolves drops 20%
    I never could have guessed, before wolves, that government agencies would allow or promote this kind of slaughter after removing an animal from the ESA. This to me is a national tragedy.

    • avatar rork says:

      Their goal is 350 wolves. They still have about 650, down from over 800. 350 seems low to me too, but if people really want to get them down to some set number, as you know, they’ll have to kill allot of wolves every year. One could try to argue their goals for how many wolves (and where) are dumb. Otherwise it might sound like no number is ever high enough, and every wolf death is a national tragedy no matter how many wolves there are.
      I am encouraged by recent MI news that our wolf numbers seem to not be growing in the last 3 years, so that the maximum number we would have even in the absence of “slaughter” may be tolerable to the people (some wolves would still be killed every year as “problems”, maybe 5-10% is my guess). In MI, we have a barrier between upper and lower MI, that has let us duck some hard questions (so far). MN also has some blessings. WI has the hardest choices of the 3 states over here, perhaps more similar to what other states (without many wolves yet) would face in places without giant preserves or unpopulated areas.

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        I guess Rork that it seems from what I’ve read that depredations are pretty low in most areas at least from wolves yet as has been endlessly discussed here wolves take the brunt of the heat. To manage wolves as deer is just plain awful. They have such complex interactions with one another. I followed your comments in the latest MWire piece and appreciate seeing a voice of reason. I think that the hysteria and hype about wolves will not subside until laws that actually use adaptive management and biological principles prevail. If wolf populations stabilize in response to prey, pup survival, territoriality they are a minimal threat to livestock, and are not eaten then non lethal and or surgical removal as you suggest in your posts should suffice. There is no legitimate reason to hunt wolves except for people that like to kill them and that is an unacceptable reason. To bring down a healthy wolf population that is causing minimal trouble to 350 is gross.

        • avatar rork says:

          They may have feared even greater increase of wolves, and I think they are listening to their deer hunters a bit too much, both of which aren’t only to kill wolves for fun. Deer fear is palpable in MI too, whether warranted or not. I’m so glad we hit the wolf ceiling in MI, even if it’s not a true max (poaching may bias it down a bit), but at least we have an idea of how many wolves the UP can hold, which is a number I’ve been wanting to know for years, and a good place to start the calculations from. If you don’t know what peak wolf means for an area, planning is harder, and people can tell scary stories of what it might be like.
          Sadly, I’m not sure how many hunters or other citizens will admit we’ve seen peak wolf, or that it’s not too scary or deer-killing, cause ya know, that might conflict with what they thought they knew.

          Whether most people think sports hunting of wolves just-cause-you-can (“there are plenty”) is bad, I’m not sure. I don’t favor it but it’s not based on much theory, I just value wolf hunting very little, and wolves very much, both individually and in their combined effects. I may rate deer higher than you, and wouldn’t play the complexity card, but would play on the idea that managing ungulates and top predators is not the same.

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        Rork and Louise,

        Please allow me to join in. After recent information in the Minneapolis Star about deer damage in forest in MN, postings by ma’iingan about the destructiveness of deer in our forests, and a comment from county forester friend with connections in WI, who said his forester friend says we need more wolves.

        It can no longer be ignored that many deer hunters (not an anti hunting rag as I hunt)do have that game farm mentality and feel they should be guaranteed their deer, forests and highway collisions be damned.

        I’ve mentioned before, both young red and white pines get hammered up here by deer. It’s amazing any survive, and this assists the proliferation of balsam fir, which is a fire hazard.

        It just is not that healthy for forested areas with the robust deer populations.

  28. avatar Louise Kane says:

    “Results generally estimate a Montana wolf population 25-35 percent higher than the verified minimum counts submitted over the six-year period.”

    The purpose of this new assessment methodology is to bolster the state’s claim that wolves are being managed well above recovery goals. if anyone can figure out whats different about it please let me know.

    • avatar Scott Slocum says:

      MT FWP seems to be planning to outsource the counting to the public, and extrapolate as much as possible from a small sample.

      “[The new] technique bypasses the need to count every individual in every pack, and
      instead relies on public reported wolf observations, field-documented territory size, and a small number of monitored packs and pack sizes.”

      Details of the new plan are in the 2013 annual report, in the section entitled “Predicting Abundance of Gray Wolves in Montana Using Hunter Observations and Field Monitoring.”

      Bradley, Liz, Justin Gude, Nathan Lance, Kent Laudon, Abigail Nelson, Mike Ross, Ty Smucker, et al. 2013. “Montana Gray Wolf Conservation and Management 2013 Annual Report”. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        like I said what’s different? the outsourcing? wonder who will do the counting the Rocky Mountain Elf Foundation, Big Game Forever or Safari Club International under hefty grant? nothing would surprise me. I bet they won;t be asking Jay Mallonne.

        • avatar Ida Lupines says:

          The Rocky Mountain and Great Lakes states, and the Interior Dept. may have succeeded in delisting wolves, and by deceitful and dishonest means – but not without a price – they and their agents in F&W will never be believed or taken seriously ever again when they report on wildlife populations and health in any way. I know I certainly won’t. Science indeed. What a joke.

          • avatar Scott Slocum says:

            Yes, it seems like whatever MT FWP staff are doing now in monitoring wolf numbers, health, and behavior, with whatever small budget; the plan is for them to do less of that on a smaller budget. Yes, it would be good to monitor for grants to outside organizations to pick up some of this type of work, but all they’ve said so far is what’s in the plan: how they plan to invest instead in mathematical models to extrapolate from small samples and public reports. They’re inviting reports from the public at large, but right, what animal-welfare or research organization is equipped to do that without state funding and staff in the field?

  29. avatar Louise Kane says:

    “By adding additional harvest information, Gude said specific predictions of the effects of different seasons or harvest quotas on wolf populations could provide information vital to establishing successful wolf hunting and trapping seasons in coming years.”

    as if increased trapping, snaring, methods of take, longer seasons, use of suppressors, and allocations of 5 wolves per hunter would not do the trick. No where is there any language about the information being used to track the health of the wolf population. I’m disgusted. I wonder do these scientists and managers convince themselves that their state policies are justifiable or are they just like everybody else afraid of losing a job by questioning the rank and file.

  30. avatar Larry says:

    This quote printed in the Mountain West News of April 30, “There are lots of people who are really concerned when the BLM shows up with its own SWAT team. … They’re regulatory agencies; they’re not paramilitary units, and I think that concerns a lot of us.” Is attributed to Utah Rep. Chris Stewart and is a prime example of pandering to militia types with false information. The BLM at the Bundy fiasco did not show up with a SWAT team. The term SWAT with regard to law enforcement action such as this is inflammatory and embellished. With regard to environmental law enforcement there are no truly SWAT teams because if SWAT teams are needed the matter has elevated to a level of public and officer safety that violates or has shown the propensity to be a crime of a different class beyond environmental law enforcement. Environmental law enforcement personnel may well have protective equipment for their own safety. Such may include what looks to outsiders as similar to SWAT team regalia such as helmets, bullet resistant vests and even crowd control sprays but are far short of public safety SWAT team equipment. The helmets, vests and spray are adorned for their own protection if the act of enforcing the environmental law brings on an assault from the perpetrators or witnesses. Violent resistance if it exceeds a “normal” level is then left to be addressed by an existing public safety agency which is what happened at the Bundy cottage.

    For Representative Stewart to suggest that BLM should not have enforcement authority for the laws and regulations promulgated by Congress is nothing more than a thinly veiled move to reduce effectiveness of environmental laws. At best Representative Stewart is vastly ill-informed or he is knowingly diluting environmental law enforcement.

    All federal environmental law enforcement personnel receive their training alongside personnel of Secret Service, Customs and Border Protection and every other entity tasked with federal law enforcement. What better way for a representative to ingratiate themselves with opponents of environmental laws than to speak in support for deleting the funding for such enforcement.

    Stewart’s comment should be seen for what it is, pandering and twisted to mislead.

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      Boosts? That headline is misleading – it is really going to be an overpopulation without the wolves. Only when you read further is this clarified. But perhaps this will lead into the entry of the two-legged demi-gods who will fix it all up with ‘management’?

      • avatar Elk375 says:

        A hunting season will take care of the overpopulation of moose.

        • avatar Ida Lupines says:

          Yes, I’m sure that’s where it’s all headed. Because we do such a good job at wildlife management.

        • avatar Scott Slocum says:

          Right, this must be a sign (from the great, white hunter in the sky or something) that it’s time to abandon the grand experiment and get back to “managing them just like any other animals.”

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            I had something a little more disappointingly down to earth in mind – like the great white hunters in our own minds. Legend in our own mind. The East isn’t doing well since we wiped out predtors. 🙂

  31. avatar Nancy says:

    “It’s real easy for people to blow a gasket about wolf predation,” said Idaho Fish and Game District Conservation Officer George Fischer. “They are very passionate about it, they are very irate about it and they are livid about it. Yet there is a two-legged wolf out there that is probably killing as many or more than wolves. Wolves are causing an impact, there is no doubt about it; I don’t want to downplay that at all, but two-legged wolves are probably killing more or stealing more game than wolves. That is the shock-and-awe message.”

    http://www.newsdaily.com/article/2e8c3fbc5647c948472ec90ef8fa14f6/idaho-poachers-taking-heavy-toll-on-game

  32. avatar Salle says:

    Didn’t see this above anywhere. If someone posted it, sorry.

    Secretary Jewell Announces $1.1 Billion to State Wildlife Agencies from Excise Taxes on Anglers, Hunters, and Boaters
    Recreational Users Provide Support for Critical Conservation Projects

    03/25/2014

    Contact us

    WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced today that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will distribute nearly $1.1 billion in excise tax revenues paid by sportsmen and sportswomen to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects across the nation. A state-by-state table is included in this release.

    “People who enjoy hunting, fishing, boating and recreational shooting provide a strong foundation for conservation funding in this country,” Jewell said. “The taxes they pay on equipment and boating fuel support critical fish and wildlife management and conservation efforts, create access for recreational boating, and underpin education programs that help get kids outdoors.”

    The Service apportions the funds to all 50 states and territories through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs. Revenues come from excise taxes generated by the sale of sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment and tackle, and electric outboard motors. Recreational boaters also contribute to the program through fuel taxes on motorboats and small engines.

    “Anyone who enjoys our nation’s outdoor heritage should thank hunters, anglers, recreational boaters and target shooters,” said Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, these individuals have created a 75-year legacy for conservation of critical wildlife habitat and improved access to the outdoors for everyone.”

    The total distributions this year are $238.4 million higher than last year because of the inclusion of funds that were not distributed last year because of the government sequester and an increase in excise tax receipts from sales of firearms and ammunition in the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund.

    More at link.

    http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/secretary-jewell-announces-1-1-billion-to-state-wildlife-agencies-from-excise-taxes-on-anglers-hunters-and-boaters.cfm

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      It was already posted. I wonder what the ‘critical conservation projects’ will be?

      • avatar Scott Slocum says:

        Outdoor News Minnesota, 4/4/2014: “The biggest projects that qualify for Pittman-Robertson funds, Boggess said, are land acquisition, usually state wildlife management areas; wildlife habitat management projects; and wildlife population surveys and research… proposals to spend more on other initiatives, at least in Minnesota, must be approved by the governor.”

        • avatar Louise Kane says:

          I hope the projects are land acquisition or research but I am skeptical. I should read more of it before being so sarcastic. Just detesting SJ actions thus far as much as Salazaar with a few exceptions.

    • avatar Scott Slocum says:

      It’s been another boom year for firearms and ammunition sales. I guess “anyone who enjoys our nation’s outdoor heritage should thank” everyone who’s building their personal-defense hoards in their rec-room gunsafes.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      Well now that there are a lot more refuges open to hunting this year(after the sweeping decision to open refuges and wilderness areas to hunting without public comment), its perhaps time to earmark other cool “conservation” projects like opening corridors for atv use or indoctrinating youth into trapping and snaring classes or maybe hound hunting. Ms Jewell is just so creative and is so thoughtful to not bother all of us with problematic and time consuming issues like public comment or bothering about asking independent scientists for their input. And she can really be counted on to ensure that the important people get several chances to increase their comments about a national desisting of wolves. I mean why should a million comments stop a perfectly good delisting especially when everyone can see how well the states are managing wolves now. SJ is a real great gal.

  33. avatar Immer Treue says:

    Ever wonder about disposal of dead whales that wash ashore?

    http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/caution-dead-whale-contents-under-pressure

  34. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/california-animal-rights-groups-offer-10000-reward-for-pelican-slasher/

    and another awful story
    there is a need for anti cruelty statutes that impose serious penalties for cruelty against wildlife. This kind of thing is intolerable

  35. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    One of the wolves killed was a 6 month old pup! Such brave hunters. And this farmer makes Mr. Bundy look good by comparison.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/04/michigan_wolf_hunt_from_first-.html

    Koski’s 925 acres are now listed for sale.
    Whether that will keep wolf conflicts lower is unknown, DNR spokeswoman Debbie Munson Badini said.

    Well, duh!

  36. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    April fools day in Idaho?
    The chairman of Idaho’s House Agricultural Affairs Committee is advocating for a fence around Yellowstone National Park to protect surrounding ranchers from wolves.
    http://www.capitalpress.com/stories-of-the-week/20140501/idaho-ag-leader-suggests-fence-to-keep-wolves-in-yellowstone

  37. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    Blood on the snow: Shocking images of polar bears shot and skinned for ‘wealthy Russians’ who consider them the ultimate hunting trophy
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2617889/Blood-snow-Shocking-images-polar-bears-shot-skinned-wealthy-Russians-consider-ultimate-hunting-trophy.html#ixzz30XhRgwIN

  38. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1981/12/27/us/around-the-nation-farmers-in-idaho-snare-10000-more-jackrabbits.html

    nothing escapes farmer and rancher wrath in Idaho…
    I wonder how a good population of coyotes or red fox would keep the hares in check? Idaho certainly not a state with much hope of testing predator control solutions.

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      who would have the heart to club thousands of hares? what a god awful thing to do to another being

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      You mean they didn’t hire Wildlife Services this time? This really is the stuff of nightmares and horror movies, but it is all too real. People used to do this in the times of the Dust Bowl, and we don’t seem to have evolved much since then.

      And knowing this, you’ve got wonder why the Federal government allows it, and even trades on it for votes. If they allow this kind of thing to go on unchecked, and even encourage it in the name of hunting, they are no better.

      • avatar Elk375 says:

        That article was dated 12/1981. In January of 1982 I was headed back to the Columbia Basin in Washington and Oregon after Christmas to continue purchasing oil and gas leases for ARCO. I drove through Mud Lake, Idaho and the plowed fields were white with Jackrabbits hundreds and thousands of them everywhere. In one field with a stack of hay bales the rabbits had eaten the bottom out and the stack was starting to collapse.

        There were more rabbits than coyotes and foxes could ever control. These farms are adjacent to the Idaho nuclear plants where hunting is not allowed and the coyotes, bobcats and foxes lived unhunted. About ever 40 to 50 years the rabbit population explodes and within 6 months the all but a few rabbits die.

        No one forced anyone to club rabbits.

        • avatar JEFF E says:

          Elk
          I was going to say much the same thing but decided to take the Ron White amendment.

          • avatar Ida Lupine says:

            Jeff, two words: one starts with “F” and the other ends in “U”.

            • avatar JEFF E says:

              Why Ida, thank you for your kind offer but I will have to pass for a couple of reasons. First long range hook-ups just do not work, and second, I have found that I need at least as much intellectual stimulation as I do physical, if not more. I’m afraid you just do not make the grade.
              If I may suggest, I understand there are any number of electro- mechanical devices available for purchase that would be much compatible with your limited capabilities.

              • avatar Larry says:

                Jeff- there are unlimited trash blogs out there why not try one of those for awhile to get it out of your system. I suggest Fox News for starters but anywhere but here.

              • avatar JEFF E says:

                Larry,
                bite me

        • avatar Ida Lupine says:

          There were more rabbits than coyotes and foxes could ever control.

          Nobody knows this for sure. What we do know is that there are no predators to test that theory, and human activities have caused some animals in our ecological system to grow too much, others too little. It is egotistical and foolhardy (not directing this at you personally but it is common to mankind generally and especially those who like to run companies and countries) to think we have that much ‘control’, over anything, except to ruin.

          And the fact remains that a creature who could club anything to death, expend that much negative energy and violence towards another living thing, without first looking for a humane alternative, is not something anyone should find acceptable in a modern society. Why do we have to club, shoot, and poison everything around us? Maybe it is just part of our nature, one that we don’t like and try to deny?

        • avatar Yvette says:

          I bet there were more rabbits than coyotes. Probably so, LOL. WS was still Animal Damage Control back then, right? They still snared, tapped, poisoned and aerial gunned every coyote that dared to move. And the foxes were and are over trapped for shallow women that think they need fur to be beautiful.

          There are probably a few variables for the excessive population of rabbits that year, but I think it’s fairly safe to surmise that the old Animal Damage Control had poisoned, snared, shot, and aerial gunned them into oblivion.

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            Plus humans have so much land used for farming and ranching that there’s really not much left for the rabbits or anything else, and even less as we move into the bleak future. People claim to be future-oriented, but still cling to old ways such as killing wolves and coyotes in contests, and bludgeoning bunnies as people did decades ago. Only decades ago, there weren’t as many people. I wonder why the Interior doesn’t give as much air time to the ‘non-consumptive’ uses and only promotes hunting? Our taxes go to protect the environment too, and some of us donate directly to conservation groups. For example, not only is bird-watching healthy and recreational, but probably helps ensure birds’ survival into the future – whereas hunters’ killing them in the present really does nothing for them but preserve their habitat, not for birds, but for hunters. Empty habitat won’t be much use, will it.

            JB, I know you try to be encouraging and to take a positive view, but we don’t want to have a false sense of security either. We have been warned about pollution, overpopulation, and climate change for decades, and have done virtually nothing. Hybrid, electric and low-emissions automobiles are a big step, except when marketing just puts a green label on them.

            • avatar Yvette says:

              Here is an interesting letter from the American Society of Mammalogists to the USDA WS. The response from WS shows WS is either delusional or in denial.

              For this thread, please note the last sentence starting on pg 2 of ASM’s letter.

              Apparently WS never did make the obvious connection
              between coyote control efforts and rabbit population numbers.

              The link: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B69WClhgOm5XUkZETVNNWXlaUWM/edit

              I hope the link works.

              • avatar WM says:

                Yvette,

                I would be more inclined to believe these WS folks are just trying to do a job, with the tools they have. If ASM is to be critical they should have suggested alternatives to the way things are done. They rarely do, just bitch a lot, not unlike some here.

              • avatar WM says:

                continuing….The response from WS to ASM is actually pretty enlightening, pretty clearly showing that the author(s) on behalf of ASM letter didn’t do their homework. ASM also does not disclose the method of how they came up with their policy statement, though they certainly reference the number of folks in their association for the purpose of weighting their legitimacy. Sometimes somebody, one or two folks, in the group drafts a position statement and it is rubber stamped without much discussion, or formal review as a group statement. Looks like that may have happened here (so much for the accuracy and research they seem so fond of as they criticize others).

              • avatar Yvette says:

                WM, I disagree with you this time. The letter from ASM cited their references, and listed Wildlife Service’s own kill reports from the 2000-2010 period. I don’t know whether ASM grips a lot or not. Someone else would have to weigh in a response to that, because I don’t know. Their letter, however, had a legitimate complaint.

                I’ve reviewed the 2012 WS kill report for my state, and there is no reason, whether scientifically based, or based on agricultural needs, that 4,887 coyotes in Oklahoma needed to be killed in one year. 2,345 were killed by M-44. That is only the coyotes, and only the coyotes killed by WS. It doesn’t even touch the unknown number killed by one of the many (at least 15) coyote killing contests in Oklahoma. I think it’s time that WS be brought to task. If they are going to use millions of dollars of our tax money they should required to justify their kill decisions. That justification should be based on the science, or the agriculture industry’s need. Their methods, such as the use of M-44, or the expense of airplanes and helicopters should be justified. As a citizen, I believe I am entitled to know why WS justifies killing 4,887 coyotes in my state.

                The response from APHIS for WS states, “It is always disappointing when a scientific society lets passion and personal bias (emphasis mine) inform their policy and resolutions.

                Hurling the words, ‘passion and personal bias’ has become a catch-all for an opposing group to attempt to discredit the opposition. If APHIS had cited references to rebut the ASM letter then I’d give them more credit. They did not. They resorted to a lazy and juvenile response when they used the ‘passion and bias’ cliche.

                I think ASM’s letter is solid.

              • avatar WM says:

                Yvette,

                I guess we will just have to agree to disagree, then. 😉 Some of these are the same scientists who are supposed to be doing the research and finding answers to improve how things are done. I do think there is a disconnect between agriculture and some parts of academia, particularly the biologists. Yet all they apparently do is criticize (if the author truly speaks for its entire membership).

                And, I think it was Brad Bergstrom from Valdosta State who wrote a similar letter on behalf of ASM, maybe, the year before. See the part I dislike, and which is disingenuous is the lumping of statistics, without subtracting out the obvious health and safety lethal removals by WS at airports, or gross infestations that jeopardize some aspect of health/safety/food production that is essential, because there is no alternative, OR when asked by states to do specific tasks. We can and do debate the coyote removal methods, and I sincerely believe WS is looking for better alternatives, including at their national coyote research center, along with other co-op state groups that would like to find effective methods for seeking balance in coyote-prey relationships.

              • avatar WM says:

                Yvette,

                One more comment and I will let it rest. WS/APHIS has to justify itself and its costly activities, in support of states and ESA obligation every year to Congress. So, it isn’t like they are working in the shadows.

                And, if you look carefully at the list of “references” in the ASM letter, it looks a bit like random sources with no apparent relation to the contents of the letter, or are general topic interest newspaper articles maybe written by non-scientists in publications like the NY Times or LA Times – go ahead take a look.

                I mostly like references with footnotes that link back to specific statements/sentences in a paper or letter. Some might even call what was done as filler, and the WS response even goes as far as to point out this letter is nearly identical (“virtually the same letter”) as one written a few years earlier by someone else on behalf of AMS.

                I think these guys/gals at AMS got caught with their pants down, and deserved the “slap down” they got from the Deputy Director of APHIS, especially since AMS had been previously asked by APHIS for constructive suggestions for improvement of methods.

              • avatar JB says:

                “If ASM is to be critical they should have suggested alternatives to the way things are done. They rarely do, just bitch a lot, not unlike some here.”

                Huh? Maybe we’re not looking at the same letter, but the one Yvette linked to makes two relevant points right up front:

                1. “We begin by stating our strong belief that a federal agency with capable and experienced wildlife professionals should oversee if not be directly involved in meliorating and mitigating conflicts between wildlife and human activities.”

                *So they start by saying that they support the general goal of “ameliorating and mitigating conflicts”. Moreover, they go on to say that they actually would like to see the agency refocus on the “control [of] invasive exotic species.” So that’s one alternative. Here’s another:

                “…when native species cause conflicts these should first be addressed by prevention, avoidance, public education and non-lethal control.”

                So by my reading ASM is making a very pointed criticism. It’s members are saying (a) they support the idea of mitigating wildlife conflicts and believe that a federal agency is needed for this purpose, but (b) they think that agency should focus on invasive and exotic species, and (c) when native species are involved, they should first attempt to use non-lethal means.

                They go on to explain some of the specific practices they object to (like the use of M-44s and other toxins) and why (i.e., non-target mortality, human safety).

                Finally, they call for a very pointed solution, that is, reducing the budget “for lethal control of native animals, except in rare circumstances” and the redirection of efforts toward the “eradication of invasive exotic species” (presumably that’s lethal, btw) and preventative methods of reducing conflict.

                Yeah, they really sound hysterical and unreasonable [sarc].

              • avatar WM says:

                JB,

                If an organization of professionals, some of whom are in the very discipline that is supposed to provide IMPLEMENTABLE solutions can’t do it, how is the agency supposed to change. While APHIS/WS does some original research (that is why they have the research scientists, to whom the Larry Clark memo was written, by the way), they depend on the academic community to do applied research, too. They sure as hell get a lot of taxpayer and private money for that. Excuse me, while I take cue from Ida here, and just gripe about how some portion of the scientific community just pisses away research money given to them, without producing results. It happens all across America in its institutions of higher learning, and I bet you, yourself, probably know of instances in your own university where this sort of thing happens.

              • avatar JB says:

                WM:

                The answer to your question ‘why doesn’t ASM provide specific examples of implementable solutions’ is that they know that Wildlife Services already knows what these solutions are. Indeed, the folks at ASM are well aware of the fact that most of the research on non-lethal methods is actually done by the USDA (at the research centers in Fort Collins, CO and Millville, UT). What their letter asks for as the implementation of ‘non-lethal’ solutions for NATIVE species WHEN FEASIBLE. I really don’t think that’s too much to ask?!

              • avatar WM says:

                I am guessing “WHEN FEASIBLE” is a subjective term. Ask an agriculturalist, state wildlife agency manager, hunter, airport manager or county health department, and you will probably get much different answers than the vocal scientists of ASM who penned this letter.

              • avatar JB says:

                No doubt, but my point is still valid. ASM’s letter makes a very pointed criticism regarding the lethal control of native species and asks for a very specific remedy–greater use of non-lethal methods and greater focus on control of invasive and exotics. To be frank, this type of restructuring would actually help the agency out by shielding them from the near constant critiques that they are out-of-control (which I disagree with).

                Now, ask yourself this: If ASM had provided very specific implementable solutions aimed at specific species in given scenarios, would you have reacted differently? I suspect you would still have criticized them for offering an opinion; the only difference would be you would’ve been complaining about how a scientific society doens’t know squat about on-the-ground management, and they should let experienced WS personnel decide. Think on it.

              • avatar WM says:

                JB,

                I’ll just suggest if “non-lethal” actually works as well advertised by some, it would be used more.

                General consensus from folks on the ground, in a lot of places across this entire Country (and elsewhere in the world), is that it mostly doesn’t work, especially in the long-term. That doesn’t mean, however, it shouldn’t continue to be explored, and practical application demonstration projects attempted. The question is where, and who should accept the economic or opportunity lost consequences of the risks taken if they don’t work.

              • avatar JB says:

                I’ll just suggest if “non-lethal” actually works as well advertised by some, it would be used more…General consensus from folks on the ground, in a lot of places across this entire Country (and elsewhere in the world), is that it mostly doesn’t work…”

                –I’m sorry, but that’s an absolute horseshit claim, and you know it. Were someone to come on this blog and claim that lethal control doesn’t work, you would be the first to point out that it depends upon your criteria for success, the specific practice–and that, at least in some instances, you can show clear “success” of lethal control. The exact same could be said for non-lethal methods.

                In principle, this is no different than a power company saying they don’t want to use scrubbers because they aren’t cost-effective, or car companies saying they don’t want to make more fuel efficient cars because people want big SUVs. If you want a technological innovation and adoption you either (a) incentive its use, or (b) mandate it (or both). ASM is essentially trying to force adoption by requiring its use before lethal measures are used.

                Here’s what a USDA biologist says about the use of non-lethal methods:

                ” Both disruptive-stimulus
                (e.g., fladry, Electronic Guards, radio-activated guards) and aversive-stimulus (e.g., electronic training collars, less-than-lethal ammunition) approaches are useful, and technological advances have led to many new, commercially available methods.

                [and]

                Clever application of biological theory in concert with in-novative, inexpensive technology could go a long way to
                ward promoting human–carnivore coexistence. It is true that
                high-tech approaches such as some of those described in this article may be affordable only to affluent stakeholders, at least until more ingenious and inexpensive designs are invented..but human coexistence with predators may be a luxury worth the effort.”

                Shivik, J.A., 2006. Tools for the edge: what’s new for conserving carnivores. BioScience 56, 253-259.

                Another researcher study wolf depredation concludes:

                “we see the greatest promise for reducing wolf depredation by improving animal husbandry, especially in high-risk seasons”.

                Musiani, M., Muhly, T., Gates, C.C., Callaghan, C., Smith, M.E., Tosoni, E., 2005. Seasonality and Reoccurrence of Depredation and Wolf Control in Western North America. Wildlife Society Bulletin 33, 876-887.

                Both of these papers acknowledge higher short-term costs associated with non-lethal measures and neither promotes them exclusively. Then again, neither does ASM.

              • avatar WM says:

                JB,

                As I understood the ASM criticism of WS, it had to do with more than just wolves, but all mammals they reference (bear, beaver, cougar, foxes, COYOTES, etc.).

                Again, if non-lethal were so effective maybe it would be used more, or are all the state and federal wildlife agencies, county and city animal control agencies just that narrow-minded, stupid, and unwilling to change, and spend huge amounts of money in their control efforts? Alternatively, if expenditures for labor, capital and maintenance by the private sector are spend, shouldn’t they produce cost-effective results?

                Sorry, I’m not buying it, unless this ASM group can come up conclusively with the scientific results to support it with some degree of certainty that will encourage/mandate change. It is very easy to generalize, as they do. But then it would seem the members of this group don’t have public safety to worry about, or capital assets at risk, or the need to engage in business that makes profit (you know the revenue in excess of costs of producing goods or services, and upon which taxes are paid to then go into state coffers to be redistributed to institutions of higher learning). I would love to put a bunch of advanced degree scientists insulated from the realities of business, in the role of actually running one- any kind of business, not just one based on natural resources – to understand and appreciate the effort involved in staying afloat and regularly making payroll.

              • avatar Yvette says:

                WM, you stated that ASM should produce support for non-lethal methods of handling wildlife.

                I don’t think that will fly. ASM isn’t being funded by our tax dollars, like WS. Over lunch, I was thinking that WS should justify why they kill the numbers of animals they kill. Sticking with mammals, I would like to know on what WS basis their decisions to kill, how many they kill, and what species they target.

                My guess is they are doing what they’ve always done because no one has held them to task.

                Nearly everything we do is based on policies and protocols that should be backed up with sound reasons or science (if you’re working in any conservation/environmental endeavors). When government dollars are used we jump through hoops. For the most part, it works that way to show the people that pay our salaries and fund our projects and research that is is needed and viable. I and others want answers for the reason that close to a million coyotes were killed over the ten year period mentioned in the letter. If WS is funded by taxpayers then they need to produce the numbers and the reports that show what they spent, why they spent it, and how they justify those expenditures. If they can’t do that then the entire division needs to be cleaned up or cleaned out. Let them focus on the birds at airports, and those animals that are truly diseased, and not those that have the potential to be sick.

                There is little reason for ASM to justify their requests. They are not the ones spending our tax dollars. That would be WS, they should be required to track, count, and justify the methods, reasons and scale of animals killed.

                I’m not buying the numbers of kills as justified.

              • avatar WM says:

                Yvette,

                It is important when looking at statistics like a “nearly a million coyotes over 10 years” to break it down. So, that is roughly 100,000 a year over a huge geographic area. And, also remember WS operates in each state, often with co-op contracts with individual counties and cities, or maybe even some Indian reservations, and Air Force, Navy and Army bases, or Ports, doing the specific work THEY want performed. Yes, they usually perform their services pursuant to needs of someone else, meaning their services are requested – remove this wolf; these coyotes; these geese; these beaver/raccoons/opossum, at these facilities.

                I am guessing some of these folks want permanent solutions to their problems, and often a non-lethal one only delays the inevitable, and sometimes at greater cost.

                I am not saying non-lethal absolutely doesn’t work, and you can bet WS uses non-lethal in some of its consulting and remedial work. There are instances in which, for a variety of reasons, it may not work. They should have to justify what they do, and they often do such justification – some folks just don’t accept it.

                As for ASM, they as a group wouldn’t do research. Afterall, it has members. But their member scientists have specific expertise, and one might think they would/could have Sections which specialize in certain aspects, and the group could serve thru a panel or forum to offer general advice which ultimately generates the funded research for some of its member scientists.

              • avatar JB says:

                “It is very easy to generalize, as they do.”

                I don’t really have any more time to debate this, but I hope you appreciate the irony of this statement given your generalizations about non-lethal control. I could send you a few dozen papers that show that NL methods can be effective, but they are not a panacea (and ASM never claims they are). It isn’t necessarily narrow-mindedness that prevents implementation, it’s that when people are faced with threats they want an immediate solution. Killing offending animals provides that solution, and the feeling of retribution to boot. The most effective NL measures don’t provide this, and may be ineffective once a problem has started (they might better be used preventatively–but again it’s hard to generalize). So the question becomes, sans some form of mandate, how do you get farmers, ranchers, landowners to adopt practices that prevent conflicts in the first place. Certainly they aren’t going to do it when they can wait and see if they have a conflict and then have a government agency show up and take care of the offending animal. Forcing the N/L methods to come first builds in an incentive for ranchers/farmers/landowners to take preventative measures and not wait around to see if they’re impacted.

              • avatar JB says:

                WM:

                Turns out a paper was just published that pointedly addresses the question you asked. Here, verbatim, is what they found:

                “During the first year the mean cost of livestock protection was USD 3.30 per head of stock and the mean cost of depredation was USD 20.11 per head of stock. In the first year of non-lethal control the combined implementation and running costs were similar to those of lethal control (USD 3.08 per head). However, the mean cost of depredation decreased by 69.3%, to USD 6.52 per head. In the second year of non-lethal control the running costs (USD 0.43 per head) were significantly lower than in previous years and depredation costs decreased further, to USD 5.49 per head. Our results suggest that non-lethal methods of human–wildlife conflict mitigation can reduce depredation and can be economically advantageous compared to lethal methods of predator control.

                McManus JS et al. 2014. Dead or alive? Comparing costs and benefits of lethal and non-lethal human-wildlife conflict mitigation on livestock farms. Oryx, doi:10.1017/S00360531300160

              • avatar WM says:

                JB,

                I don’t have access to the paper you cite. It would be interesting to know the context of the research, what kind of livestock and the predators against which protection was sought, as well as the non-lethal methods, who paid for them, and for how long it is anticipated the methods would work (as well as whether other factors played into predator presence or absence in the area over time). All are important factors.

              • avatar JB says:

                WM:

                I seem to have lost your email when I converted to Outlook (recently). Email me and I’ll send you a copy.

                Short answer:
                3-year study
                NL method: guard dogs, alpacas, livestock protection collars
                L method: gin-traps, gun traps, hunting
                Study area: 11 commercial livestock farms in South Africa
                Predators: black-backed jackal, caracal, leopard

              • avatar Louise Kane says:

                wonder what a pile of a million dead animals looks like? I would also Yvette like to see that rationale justified

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      The article states they there the shark back into the water, it does not look very healthy in the image. Amazing creature, I hope it survived

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        “They hoisted the animal up and threw it back into the ocean.”

        After taking a bunch of pictures too. Doesn’t sound very promising, does it.

        • avatar JEFF E says:

          I think anything that lives at between 1000 and 3000 feet below sea level is not going to fare or look good at the surface.

          • avatar Louise Kane says:

            usually the animals have problems with their swim bladders although I don’t know about sharks specifically I have more knowledge of fish

  39. avatar Kathleen says:

    “Penn. State chases crows with lasers, fireworks, hanging birds and obnoxious smells”

    http://greatlakesecho.org/2014/05/02/penn-state-chases-crows-with-lasers-fireworks-hanging-birds-and-obnoxious-smells/

    Excerpt: “The university also used fogging machines with smells the crows didn’t like, he said. They stopped when it started to smell so bad that Penn State students and nearby residents couldn’t stand it.”

    And then there’s Idaho.

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      I had to smile – today I was driving home and I saw two crows chasing off a red-tailed hawk, they really had him on the run. 🙂

      • avatar Nancy says:

        Ida – I’ve got kind of a rookery across the way on a meadow and Magpies, Crows and Ravens share the willows and nest there but, don’t always get along.

        The other day I watched two Crows harass a Raven. Drove him to the ground and every time he tried to fly away the Crows drove him back to the ground. He finally just started walking like “okay, well it is a nice day for a stroll 🙂 “

    • avatar JB says:

      They’ve been doing something similar in my neck of the woods–trying to protect recently planted native plants (a river restoration project) from ever-present “Canada” geese (I think they might better be termed “Columbus geese”, but what do I know).

    • avatar WM says:

      Well, it doesn’t read like the alternative expensive methods work so well on crows on the Penn State U campus, so why is the Idaho method, oh so wrong? And, please don’t say because that is the way Wildlife Services would do it. Sometimes the lethal alternative is, unfortunately, the only one that seems to work with any efficacy.

      It is hypocritical how some can be so condescending and critical about how agencies do things, but yet do not offer meaningful and economically implementable alternatives to what the agencies do in an effort to actually solve a perceived problem.

      • avatar JB says:

        To be fair, it isn’t hypocritical if they don’t think crow poop is a problem (i.e., the ‘do nothing’ alternative).

        • avatar WM says:

          I was thinking of the last statement from the article. What it seemed with the techniques tried was to move the problem from one location to another (not really a solution in some urban environments). By the way, we have plenty of crows in Seattle. Their growing populations and seagulls, are responsible for a lot of poop on cars, housetops and roofs on college campuses and residential areas. They do not shoo away easily, and tend to return even more boldly after they figure out the negative stimulus is harmless to them. Seagull poop is especially acidic and will corrode and destroy some car finishes.

          • avatar Louise Kane says:

            poop on rooftops, cars and housetops is sadly the reason many birds like cormorants, crows and seagulls are poisoned or killed while human waste clogs marine ecosystems with plastics and creates widespread decay of estuarine areas from excess nitrification. I think we need to think about our own effect on earth before alway slumping to lethal “control” any time wild animals inconvenience us. That bothers me a lot. the do nothing approach why is that so objectionable. Poison and mass killings are hard for me to accept as reasonable. They are easy and short sighted

            • avatar Louise Kane says:

              nutrification

            • avatar WM says:

              Well, Louise, we in Seattle don’t use plastic bags as of about three years ago, and have to purchase paper ones if we don’t bring our own bags to the grocery, drug store or box home improvement store. There is also an intensive effort to reduce urban runoff, which relies on more on-site water retention from homes, whether it is rain barrels or rain gardens in city strips.

              Gulls, crows, pigeons (rats and squirrels, too) will mostly continue to increase where there is food available in urban environments, which is why there is a need for lethal eradication programs on a continuing basis.
              Cormorants aren’t a problem where, but some birds that feed on juvenile salmonids manage to do some damage on the Columbia River, while their populations continue to increase and the salmon decline.

              So, what is your long-term non-lethal solution, and do be specific?

              • avatar Louise Kane says:

                as JB said some people don’t think lethal options are necessary, and there is always the leave them alone option. I would leave them alone.

                You mentioned salmon
                dams and habitat destruction are the primary cause of salmon declines, as well as overfishing. I’d have no problem reducing or eliminating sport and commercial fishing so that together with dam removals and restoration projects almond populations could increase. Humans have other choices for food the birds, sea lions, bears etc not so much. Curbing or eliminating human consumption would be my first go to. I realize most people do not believe that we should have to curb our activities, and that wildlife that could impact us should go. I do not. I understand we disagree about this so there is no need to go ballistic.

              • avatar Louise Kane says:

                almond should be salmon, my spell check is out of control!
                and WM i do strongly believe that if wildlife management was more focused on retaining healthy ecosystems and allowed for more natural and balanced predator prey relationships we might realize less conflicts with species that tend to cause issue humans object to. i.e More coyotes less rodents like rats and squirrels and deer, more wolves less elk and deer destroying habitat or browsing down juvenile trees, grasses, etc .

              • avatar rork says:

                In Ann Arbor maybe 1 or 2 thousand crows use certain places in winter, just overnight. Exactly where varies from year to year and maybe even month to month. Our long-term solution so far is to do nothing – I’m not sure how long it took to come up with the idea. Sometimes it’s in front of a nice UofM concert hall (the Power Center), with large trees in something of a park, and yeah, it’s messy. Mostly it’s the big cemetery or the arb though. Perhaps our solution is thanks to luck of the locations.

  40. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/something-serious-to-protest/

    read the excerpt from whaler about seal lion drive…..

  41. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    WM, it isn’t the public’s job to come up with suggestions and alternatives (unless we want to, of course!) – this is why we elect and vote for those who can do the job or appoint those who can, and who supposedly have more know-how than we do. We also pay taxes, which we want used properly and efficiently. We have every right to criticize and complain if those we elect are not getting the job done, are beholden to special interests more than the American people, or worst of all, are corrupt.

  42. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    Hurling the words, ‘passion and personal bias’ has become a catch-all for an opposing group to attempt to discredit the opposition.

    +1

  43. avatar WM says:

    Native American fisheries advocates lost a huge voice this week, with the death of Billy Frank, Jr., a Nisqually, whose family fished on the river of that name for generations. A bigger than life personality, he was also Chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, as well as the catalyst for what is called the federal court Boldt decision (United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash. 1974)), making tribes fisheries co-managers including entitlements to half the fish harvest in given WA rivers.

    http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2023539296_billyfrankobitxml.html

    U of Colorado, law professor, Charles Wilkinson wrote a biography of Billy a few years back, called, “Messages from Frank’s Landing.” It is a good read.

    • avatar Yvette says:

      He was a huge figure, and I’ve heard this said about him, “When Billie Frank speaks, people listen.”

      He apparently was a leader, who carved a path for all who fought and struggled to have the treaty fishing rights honored.

      I’ll have to add his biography to my reading list. WM, have you ever met him? I haven’t, but I always hear about him when I’m in your region.

  44. avatar WM says:

    Just wait, some group like ASM will be counting with shear horror, the numbers of mice killed by WS(rather than the birds saved) in a continuing effort to discredit their work.

    And, from the ASM website, “Anyone interested in Mammalogy may become a member of the American Society of Mammalogists upon payment of dues….(on line) $55; students $50.

    Guess that sort of dilutes the “practicing scientist” mammologists among the 3,000 or so members. So, if you really aren’t trained as one, you can still say you are by becoming a member of the group, and be one just by association. :).

    • avatar Louise Kane says:

      this post is a smokescreen WM
      it is horrifying to many the kind of carnage that this agency creates.

      the real issue is that WS is not really accountable for the huge numbers of animals they kill and some very unsavory practices and people have been exposed.

      Taxpayer money is involved and taxpayers have a right to understand and approve what this agency does.

      • avatar WM says:

        ++Taxpayer money is involved and taxpayers have a right to understand and approve what this agency does.++

        And they do, Louise. It is not just federal taxpayer money, but counties, cities, special districts (I think), and maybe other co-op federal money from participating entities like the military on bases and airports pays for APHIS/WS program services (50-50 if I recall). County commissioners and city councils enter into these agreements all the time all over the United States, in open session. Hardly a cover-up. Recall Davis, CA (pop 65,000) pulled out of a co-op contract with WS and Yolo County (pop 230,000), but the county kept it going (the county serves as the coordinator for all cities in the local government part. Davis is largely a college town. But do remember, even if Davis pulls out because they don’t like WS methods, they still get the benefit (some might use another word), because the county is still participating in controlling problem coyotes.

        • avatar WM says:

          Sorry, states all over the US enter into these agreements for service, as well.

          • avatar Scott Slocum says:

            Minnesota is one of the states with a wolf-removal contract with USDA WS, but that doesn’t mean everything is okay. The MN DNR and MN Dept. of Ag. have leaned solely on this lethal control, while ignoring the MN Wolf Management Plan’s call for the development of non-lethal methods of control, to be backed up by lethal methods as necessary. We’re working to get our state officials back to the plan, but they really don’t want to even try. So much for our state’s “endorsement” of USDA WS.

  45. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2014/05/michigan-wolves.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=humanenation

    This is a good summary of the Michigan debacle and trying to protect wolves from the usual suspects

  46. avatar JB says:

    Continuing the conversation about the effectiveness of lethal vs. non-lethal control, John Shivik (formerly of the USDA WS) of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, gave a great presentation on Utah’s bounty program (which he oversaw) last year at the annual meeting of the Wildlife Society. Long story short, despite paying $50/coyote, roughly the same number of coyotes were killed with the bounty as were killed in the previous year, and coyotes were killed in places where mule deer didn’t calf (desert areas). The program was essentially a give-away to predator hunters.

    Here’s the abstract:

    Title: 1,100,001 reasons why there won’t be tolerance for carnivores.
    Session Title: Finding Tolerance For Carnivores: Social, Ecological & Policy Dimensions
    Session Number: 38
    Session Time: Monday, Oct 07, 2013, 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    Presentation Time: Monday, Oct 07, 2013, 2:50 PM – 3:10 PM
    Presentation Number: 5
    Author(s): John Shivik, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Salt Lake City, UT, Contact: johnshivik@utah.gov

    Abstract Body: In the state of Utah, the Mule Deer Protection Act and its related funding bill resulted in a $1.1 budget to “remove coyotes from areas where they may pose a threat to mule deer.” A 5$ increase in big game permit fees finances a $600,000 control effort by Wildlife Services and $500,000 from the state general fund finances an incentive program which pays $50 per coyote to those submitting dead coyotes for reimbursement. To receive payment, participants must register for the program, present proof of kill in the form of a lower jaw and scalp with ears attached, and a GPS location of the kill. The program came into existence in July of 2013 and has just completed the first year of implementation during which approximately 7000 coyotes were reimbursed in for $350,000 in reimbursements. Fur-takers generally harvested 7400 coyotes per year before the program was initiated. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has made every effort to maximize the effectiveness of the incentive program including recommending timing and location of coyote removal and gathering of data and information to provide an assessment of the program. Data gathered thus far indicate that most coyotes are removed from desert areas where deer populations are low and that few additional coyotes have been removed than in previous years. Scientific literature is, at best, equivocal on the effectiveness of predator control in general; bounty programs are thought to be even less likely to be effective. Given strong biological and economic evidence that such policies are not cost effective, why are such programs popular in the modern day American west? At least one potential reason will be discussed.

    • avatar Leslie says:

      Ugh, UT this winter was where my dog was caught in a coyote trap set directly roadside. Yes, due to the increase of every tom, dick and harry deciding on trapping. And these traps were in the desert where there were no mule deer. The mule deer were residing in the conifer country up higher, and doing quite well I must say. There were deer everywhere and this was at the tail end of hunting season.

    • avatar WM says:

      Regarding John Shivik’s observations, another view of the coyote bounty, by its sponsors (yeah there is Don Peay, again) as written in the Salt Lake Tribune:

      http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile3/56959855-219/coyotes-deer-coyote-utah.html.csp

      What to make of it all in UT (and elsewhere)?

      • avatar Nancy says:

        “A lot of research we did indicated deer are really not threatened that much by coyotes and that when we start to kill them off they start to breed more,” said Carl Arky, a spokesman for the Humane Society of Utah.

        He said members are glad there weren’t more animals killed. “There are so many questions on whether this is necessary, whether it works and whether taxpayers should be paying for this.”

      • avatar WM says:

        So, where and how is the line drawn on “effectiveness of lethal/non-lethal control,” when considering the financial costs, who bears it, and what the ultimate risks are by focusing on non-lethal control? Let’s just say UT shut down lethal control all together, replacing it with non-lethal, what would one expect as the consequences/results on the ground for say a three to five year period? Would it take longer to see positive effects/equilibrium, and would livestock losses potentially be higher, the same or lower? How about the effects on deer populations in UT (think license revenues here too, and the backlash from the hunting community), and the resulting political backlash?

        What would John Shivik say, if he could implement ideal non-lethal predator policy from his perspective? He is a coyote guy, according to his CV, isn’t he? Do you suppose APHIS/WS and natural resource/wildlife departments are considering his thoughts/input?

        http://www.beacon.org/productdetails.cfm?sku=8496

        • avatar Mark L says:

          Good questions, WM. Unfortunately, I don’t see a lot of ‘control groups’ that would allow all non-lethal control at any time in the future in a large area. There’s obviously some bias going on too, i.e. if the results WERE positive…or even neutral, who would financially benefit?
          If there were a group that tried, I’d suggest they not be WS associated. I’ve seen this basic idea suggested at airport authority meetings in the past, especially ones where the airport authority, and not WS, are in charge of nuisance animal control on runways. It would be interesting to see the results, given a ‘level playing field’ where the participants don’t have financial incentive to find a result.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          “How about the effects on deer populations in UT (think license revenues here too, and the backlash from the hunting community), and the resulting political backlash?”

          **Members of the Utah Wildlife Board heard some encouraging news about Utah’s deer herds at their meeting on May 1. After hearing the news, the seven-member board approved 200 additional general season buck deer permits for this fall’s hunts. Permits for the remaining big game hunts in Utah were also approved*

          https://wildlife.utah.gov/wildlife-news.html

          Doesn’t appear that Utah’s deer herds are suffering.

        • avatar JB says:

          “Let’s just say UT shut down lethal control all together, replacing it with non-lethal, what would one expect as the consequences/results on the ground for say a three to five year period?”

          –How is one to know until one tries? The only place I know of that has done this AND monitored the cost is Marin County, CA–and they’ve found it cost effective:

          http://www.sandiegolovesgreen.com/the-marin-county-livestock-wildlife-protection-program-a-non-lethal-model-for-coexistence/

          “…the non-lethal cost-share program (1) had support from a majority of participating ranchers, (2) was preferred over the USDA Wildlife Service’s traditional predator management program by a majority of participating ranchers, (3) helped to reduce livestock losses, (4) resulted in an increase in the use of non-lethal predation deterrent methods by a majority of participating ranchers, (5) likely reduced the total number of predators killed to protect livestock, (6) reduced the spectrum of species of predators killed to protect livestock, and (7) fewer species of predator were killed.”

          “Would it take longer to see positive effects/equilibrium, and would livestock losses potentially be higher, the same or lower?”

          –Again, who knows until you try? (I suspect that a variety of variables would moderate both L and NL program effectiveness.)

          “How about the effects on deer populations in UT (think license revenues here too, and the backlash from the hunting community), and the resulting political backlash?”

          –Um, has anyone shown that coyotes are affecting Utah’s deer population? Shouldn’t the onus be on those who desire to implement a costly intervention (bounty program) to first show (a) an effect on deer population, and (b) that the proposed intervention has some reasonable chance of success. Would you really anticipate a backlash from the hunting community for using non-lethal methods to control coyote predation?

          “What would John Shivik say, if he could implement ideal non-lethal predator policy from his perspective?”

          –Again, that’s for Shivik to decide. I won’t speak for him.

          “He is a coyote guy, according to his CV, isn’t he?”

          –He formerly ran the USDA’s Millville research facility. He’s one of the say top 5 experts on the effects of lethal and non-lethal control.

          “Do you suppose APHIS/WS and natural resource/wildlife departments are considering his thoughts/input?”

          –Depends upon the department.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            “How is one to know until one tries?”

            Excellent question JB 🙂

          • avatar WM says:

            Well, here’s the key part of the Marin County program:

            The MCLWPP initiated cost-sharing to help ranchers install or upgrade fencing and other livestock-protection infrastructure, install predator-deterrents and detectors, and purchase and sustain guard dogs and llamas, coupled with indemnification for any ensuing verified livestock losses to predators.

            And, Marin County is only about 800 square miles (only 520 square miles is land), most of it not arable or capable of grazing livestock. Artists in Sausilito and wealthy techies in Tiburon (both communities just north of San Francisco) probably don’t mind a few bucks for such a program – and exactly what kind of predators and in what numbers do they have anyway?

            Hardly representative of the West I think, where county size is likely 5-10 times as large, with 1/20 the human population/tax base to finance such an endeavor, and a whole lot more predators and livestock that require the protection. Pretty big differences in my view. What am I missing?

            Other than those obstacles, I say go for it on some test areas for non-lethal.

            • avatar JB says:

              Apparently, you’re missing the connection. Note, the general recommendations of the papers I cited above:

              “we see the greatest promise for reducing wolf depredation by improving animal husbandry, especially in high-risk seasons.”

              [and]

              “Clever application of biological theory in concert with innovative, inexpensive technology could go a long way toward promoting human–carnivore coexistence.”

              The infrastructure changes you cite in Marin County in effect help ranchers engage in better animal husbandry.

              I never claimed that the Marin efforts would work everywhere, I said they were the one example I knew of where NL were tried and closely monitored to address the concerns you raised. Tell me: Why should the onus be on conservationists to show that NL methods are more effective? Why shouldn’t we start by forcing good animal husbandry practices and only kill the public’s wildlife as a last resort?

              Refs:

              Shivik, J.A., 2006. Tools for the edge: what’s new for conserving carnivores. BioScience 56, 253-259.

              Another researcher study wolf depredation concludes:

              Musiani, M., Muhly, T., Gates, C.C., Callaghan, C., Smith, M.E., Tosoni, E., 2005. Seasonality and Reoccurrence of Depredation and Wolf Control in Western North America. Wildlife Society Bulletin 33, 876-887.

              • avatar Louise Kane says:

                “Tell me: Why should the onus be on conservationists to show that NL methods are more effective? Why shouldn’t we start by forcing good animal husbandry practices and only kill the public’s wildlife as a last resort?”

                excellent and concise statement of one of my biggest bitches. and thank you for providing the sources.

              • avatar WM says:

                I did not miss the connection to better animal husbandry, which certainly is a part of a successful program dealing with any predators. It was the next sentence, following that portion of the paragraph I cited.

                ++“Tell me: Why should the onus be on conservationists to show that NL methods are more effective? Why shouldn’t we start by forcing good animal husbandry practices and only kill the public’s wildlife as a last resort?”++

                The answer is pretty simple, really. ANYTHING that adds labor or materials costs to the overall cost of livestock production will generally be resisted. It also makes it politically unpalatable to the producer, and in the case of most county commissioners (other than affluent semi-urban ones with big tax bases)/state legislatures and even Congress it is met with resistance because of those costs, which the producer will say will be passed on to the consumer (giving the appearance of moral high ground to the decision-maker to reject).

                And, of course, the citations to how well the program is working were from Camilla Fox at Project Coyote.

                I think the important part of non-lethal and “co-existence” theory is the ability to show transferability of the methods to different situations. Again, Marin is a bunch different from Eastern WA, Interior CA, N. Central ID, MN, MI, WI, which have more carnivores present and more problems to deal with, in some lower tax base areas (where subsidy and educational programs might find greater success).

              • avatar Louise Kane says:

                Wm you wrote in response to JB and his question about why the onus should be on the conservationist to prove that NL methods are more effective…
                “he answer is pretty simple, really. ANYTHING that adds labor or materials costs to the overall cost of livestock production will generally be resisted”

                This is the problem. The livestock producers resist change even when that change may be a a more appropriate, sound and yes humane approach. There are many situations where change was resisted by powerful institutions, some obvious, but that did not negate the need for change.

                “It also makes it politically unpalatable to the producer, and in the case of most county commissioners (other than affluent semi-urban ones with big tax bases)/state legislatures and even Congress it is met with resistance because of those costs, which the producer will say will be passed on to the consumer (giving the appearance of moral high ground to the decision-maker to reject).”

                This is probably true to some extent but is not in and of itself a reason to discredit or to reject proposed policies or the people that propose them. Haven’t livestock producers and the agriculture industries dominated policy long enough? Anti predator policies are destructive, inhumane and generally indefensible ecologically and economically.

              • avatar Louise Kane says:

                To add to the last comment I think the idea is to shift the burden of the costs from the public to the producer isn’t? Killing predators in such large numbers is a subsidy by the taxpayers in and of itself and to add to that insult the taxpayer also looses because its public trust resources are squandered.
                No doubt, its going to be an uphill battle because killing predators is an entrenched mindset in these powerful industries. Its good to hear however discussion on the subject and that many people hate these archaic policies as much as I do.

              • avatar JB says:

                WM:

                Your explanation only deals with why there is resistance to such policy [i.e., vested interests oppose a policy that shifts responsibility to them]. That answer explains resistance to any policy, but it doesn’t explain why anyone besides livestock producers should support the current approach? As things stand, we’re using public resources [via WS] to allow individuals to remove public resources [wildlife]–the justification being cost. Yet, the costs of lethal vs non-lethal control are not well understood.

                “Congress it is met with resistance because of those costs, which the producer will say will be passed on to the consumer…”

                And currently these costs are already passed on to the consumer in the form of taxes that go to support lethal control and in the loss of a public resource [wildlife].

                “…part of non-lethal and “co-existence” theory is the ability to show transferability of the methods ….Marin is a bunch different from Eastern WA, Interior CA, N.”

                Again, why not start by mandating that private livestock owners use good husbandry practices before using PUBLIC resources to take PUBLIC wildlife?

              • avatar WM says:

                JB,

                The broader explanation, is that it is not just livestock producers that get the subsidies – it is agriculture in general. They will stick together. Start whacking away at subsidies for the corn/grain/rice farmers who also use APHIS/WS services. So, your Congressional delegation will stick with the folks in the West. It would have to be an all or nothing deal, and I expect that will take some time – a lot of time to sell to politicians other than locals in liberal college towns or coastal (either east or west) that don’t have predator problems (but do eat the food that these other areas produce).

              • avatar WM says:

                …coastal CITIES…

              • avatar JB says:

                You’re right, WM, though you’ve again explained politics as opposed to the principle.

                I actually very much support the USDA WS, but I think smart policy starts by mandating people to take some responsibility–and the same is true whether we’re talking about lethal control of depredating predators or best management practices for controlling runoff. I don’t think lethal control should go away; rather, I agree with ASM–you start by mandating NL first, and then have the govt (i.e. WS) help where the need is greatest only after folks have shown they’ve made an effort.

                The irony of the ‘rugged individualist farmer/rancher’ who doesn’t need or want the government’s help should not be lost on anyone here.

              • avatar Scott Slocum says:

                Good statements from “JB” on how to encourage people to use non-lethal depredation management first, before they resort to lethal predator removal

                1) “If you want a technological innovation and adoption you either (a) incentive its use, or (b) mandate it (or both). [The American Society of Mammologists] ASM is essentially trying to force adoption by requiring its use before lethal measures are used.”

                2) “Why not start by mandating that private livestock owners use good husbandry practices before using PUBLIC resources to take PUBLIC wildlife?”

                3) “I don’t think lethal control should go away; rather, I agree with ASM–you start by mandating NL first, and then have the govt (i.e. WS) help where the need is greatest only after folks have shown they’ve made an effort.”

                An early indication that U.S. citizens will mandate non-lethal depredation management before paying for lethal predator control

                Barnes, John. 2014. “No Jail for Wolf Figure, Almost $1,900 in Fines Ordered against Farmer Accused of Leaving Cattle Vulnerable.” MLive.com. May 9. http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/05/no_jail_for_wolf_figure_almost.html.

      • avatar JB says:

        There are two specific issues with the bounty program that Shivik outlined. First is that it isn’t increasing “harvest” (I have trouble using this word when a bounty is employed) of coyotes; second, they found coyotes were not being killed where mule deer fawned–in fact, they were being killed far from fawning grounds (in the desert areas, where shots were easier and no sane deer would drop a fawn). They know this because they required GPS locations in order to receive the bounty. And of course, deer fawns are only vulnerable for a short window.

        So the net effect of the program was the loss of near a half a million dollars to pay people to shoot coyotes–and zero benefit to mule deer.

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          JB,

          Good analysis!

        • avatar Scott Slocum says:

          Here’s an example of how little thought is required of legislators and such who set policy for bounties. I think I still have an audio recording from a 2011 MN Senate committee meeting in which a bounty amendment to the year’s Game & Fish Bill was passed to allow Counties to set predator bounties, if they chose. The entire discussion consisted of one question: “do they have an amount in mind?” and one answer “I don’t know.” Boom: MN State Statute section 348.125

    • avatar Yvette says:

      Given strong biological and economic evidence that such policies are not cost effective, why are such programs popular in the modern day American west? At least one potential reason will be discussed.

      We humans align our personal identity, or at least, part of our identity, within groups and subgroups in which we identify ourselves. It could be anything; Harley rider, evangelical, academian, punk rocker, rancher, predator hunter, traditional Native American, conservationists, etc. It is innate to all humans and geography and ethnicity matters little other than the predominate influences of the group(s) of people within that locale.

      It’s human nature to desire acceptance, and to be fully accepted and respected within whatever group or subgroup in which we identify. We also place more trust and belief in the ideas or belief system that comes from within our group than we do those that come from outsiders. I think this becomes evident when dealing with any group of people on any contentious or conflicting situation. Climate change is a good example:” Why believe a climate scientist when my preacher says it isn’t God’s way, or the earth is only 6, 000 years old? I trust my preacher. He’s one of us, but the climate scientist is an outsider. He’s an elitist and he doesn’t look like us or act like us.” The group is predominately thinking collectively and even if one or two individuals counters the tenets of their group they risk being shunned, shamed and disassociated from their group. It’s a risk. In my opinion, it’s extraordinarily difficult to break through someone’s long held beliefs, especially when those beliefs are linked to everything they associate their identity with. It becomes personal.

      We have an American mythology built around the ‘cowboys and Indians’ in the American West. Certain behaviors and beliefs align with those groups. Hunting is one of them. Lethal control of predators is another. That is the solution to livestock depredation that has predominated since the West was settled. It’s a part of the whole image. Any rancher that may believe non-lethal methods work, or would like to try those methods, takes on the risk of being disassociated with the group and the ideals of the group in which he has always lived. He risks becoming a pariah and that counters human nature. We all want acceptance. However, if a few individuals take the risk, and the method works then others will follow. Those that choose to follow take on less risk because someone went before them. Eventually, the group belief system shifts.

      That is my take at one of the dynamics that affects the success or failure of changing the attitudes of lethal only management of predators. Status quo is easier, even if it’s less successful and more expensive.

  47. avatar Peter Kiermeir says:

    Poachers take chunks from California redwoods, put majestic trees at risk
    http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/06/us/california-redwoods-poaching/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Just watched the movie again (Never Cry Wolf) a couple of weeks ago. Flashed on the mice scene when I read Jeff E’s link about the potential mice problem on St. George island 🙂

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          About like Mech says about wolves, substitute Mowat

          “Mowat is neither saint nor sinner except to those who want to make him so.”

          • avatar Scott Slocum says:

            Could it be said that Mech, in the opinion of animal advocates, addresses too little of the subject matter; and that Mowat addressed, in the opinion of specialists and biographers, too much?

        • avatar Scott Slocum says:

          So much bombast to wade through in this literary criticism. My question is “which of these inaccuracies (if any) matter to me?” I wasn’t willing to wade through it all, but I checked out several of the points and didn’t find anything that mattered. If Mowat chose a literary device here and there, good for him; that’s why we enjoy his writing, and I guess it usually rang true. As for his literary critics, eh.

          • avatar WM says:

            “[S]o much bombast to wade through,” Really? And, well, anyway, it doesn’t “matter to me.”

            Seems that is often the defensive line from those unwilling to accept the possibility that their hero just might be the untruthful literary fraud that others allege and apparently proven through diligent research and cross-verification of sources in several different topic areas.

            While I guess it is uncouth in some circles to speak ill of the dead, Mowat made his own literary grave long ago, when he pulled this shit over decades, for profit and fame, apparently with some frequency. So, quite possibly he deserves the closer look, even in his recent passing.

            Apparently some believe his “Never Cry Wolf” exaltations (as untruthful as some might be), are worthy of reference, and indeed some view them as accurate depictions of wolves in the wild. Those assertions should matter if they are untruthful, unless you simply don’t care about facts. But then to some strident wolf advocates accurate facts simply doesn’t matter, just they don’t to the anti’s.

            Yeah, I know I’ll catch crap for that.

            • avatar Scott Slocum says:

              Wow, I complain about critics over-examining popular literature and all of a sudden “it doesn’t matter to me,” “I simply don’t care about the facts,” I’m a “strident wolf advocate [to whom] accurate facts simply don’t matter,” an “anti,” a crap-slinger. Way to much to wade through.

              • avatar WM says:

                This statement, in several ways, contradicts your earlier one – It seems you did say, twice, that “inaccuracies …didn’t matter to me.”

                I didn’t say you were an anti, either, only suggested that advocates AND anti’s often don’t care about facts (making both suspect).

                Saw a Mowat interview on some of his experiences in WWII as an intelligence officer in the Netherlands, from about 20 years ago. Too embellished to seem true, in my view. And, then he supposedly turned down a promotion to major from captain (which is actually a pretty big deal). The stories just just didn’t feel right, and that was before I had read a couple of the critiques that exposed some of this other less than truthful statements. Of course, turning down the promotion would likely appear in the Canadian Army’s equivalent of a US Army form DD214. I wonder if any of his critics looked at that, if they could obtain it?

              • avatar Scott Slocum says:

                Yes, “say what you want about Mowat, but” whatever he wrote about, we want to know more. If he didn’t assemble a complete legal case regarding tribal relations, well, that wasn’t his job as a popular writer. If, out of poetic license, he switched roles with his friend who stayed north while he went south; well, we probably learned the story better through that device.

                WM: it’s not all all okay to quote a person who wrote two separate words by putting them together in a new way–maybe with an ellipsis between them, as if the intent of the ellipsis was to quote the essence of what was said.

            • avatar Immer Treue says:

              WM,

              Say what you want about Mowat, the man could write. Just as with tequila, sometimes some salt is required. However, try either/both “A Whale for the Killing, and “And No Birds Sang”. The man could write, and move his reader.

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      Champion of wildlife and nature. Exposed the good, the bad, and the ugly in regard to human impact on the natural world, all the while weaving tales of the creatures, that for better or worse, are either the introductions or soul experience many will have with the animals we share the planet.

      I have read many of his books, samples of which always left some sort of impact. I guess most begin with Never Cry Wolf, but there was more to Mowatt’s writing than wolves. Whether to be read with a grain of salt, or as gospel, his prose was easy to read and digest, and more often than not, left the reader wanting more.

      The natural world has lost an important ally.

      • avatar Larry says:

        Sad to hear this news. He was a champion of the Inuit and the need to learn from their way of life as they lived with the environment and not against it.

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        +++++1 thanks Immer
        an important ally for sure

  48. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the change in response to petitions from Idaho’s Bonner County, a snowmobile group and a pro-business law firm that had sought the removal of all protections from the herd in northern Idaho.

    How very ‘conservative’ of the current Administration. Spin Doctor Translation Handbook: “Pro-Business Law Firm” = Pacific Legal Foundation

  49. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/Media-Center/News-by-Topic/Global-Warming/2014/05-07-14-Conservation-Groups-and-Deepwater-Wind-Protect-Endangered-Whales.aspx

    The measures outlined in the agreement provide further protections for the North Atlantic right whales, including a commitment by Deepwater Wind to avoid all noise-producing activities during specific periods in the spring when North Atlantic right whales have been known to frequent Rhode Island Sound, as well as reduced speed limits for all vessels involved in site characterization and assessment activities for the Deepwater ONE project during these periods.

    How is this even possible and how could it possibly be enforced? The only thing that will protect the last remaining right whales for sure is to not have a wind farm constructed in their habitat, period. I wish these people would stop insulting the public’s intelligence. It’s a ‘mitigation’ plan all right, but whales will still be sacrificed for human energy ‘needs’.

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      With between 400-500 whales remaining in the wild, the North Atlantic right whale is considered a critically endangered species, said Michael Jasny, a senior policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council. The whales, which were once hunted to near-extinction, continue to face threats such as collisions with ships, pollution of their natural habitats, and underwater noise that disrupts their behavior and ability to communicate, Jasny said.

      The Deepwater One project is located in Rhode Island Sound and would cover approximately 256 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean, roughly 30 miles east of Montauk, N.Y. and roughly 17 miles south of Rhode Island, between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

      Construction at the Deepwater One site could begin as early as 2017, with commercial operations by 2018, the company said in a release. Deepwater One is expected to produce enough energy to power approximately 120,000 homes annually.

      Sounds like only a drop in the bucket. And when these wind farms need to grow even larger? Constant upheaval in marine habitat. It’s sad that the one going up in Nantucket Sound, as big as the borough of Manhattan, was once, twice submitted to be a marine sanctuary.

  50. avatar Leslie says:

    I found this article and video interesting, especially in light of the recent video on wolves and other large mammal recovery in the Chernobyl zone.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/06/science/nature-adapts-to-chernobyl.html?hpw&rref=science&_r=0

  51. avatar Nancy says:

    Could it be, our species is just getting too frustrated and angry, due to over population?

    http://www.news4jax.com/news/deputies-woman-has-home-she-doesnt-own-partly-demolished/25875786

  52. avatar Yvette says:

    Cliven Bundy rises again. This time Bundy called on his NRA new best friends dressed in the pink camo pants to join the ATV riders. They plan to ride through federal land that is off limits. Supposedly, it’s a protest.

    Does anyone think that any Occupy protester, animal rights protester, or conservation protester could get by this chit?

    The BLM made the Recapture Canyon land off limits in 2007 because ATVs were damaging the land and folks were vandalizing Native American sites.

    Local officials do not have a good estimate of how many mad-as-hell ATV riders will show up to zoom through sacred Native American land on Saturday. But the BLM has decided to stand back and avoid a conflict for now, as it did several weeks ago on the Bundy ranch in Nevada.

    I guess there is not one single person in the Obama Administration with the the cajones to stand up against two bit bullies.

    Every tribe, every Native American, and ever conservation group in that region should be out there for this desecration. I sure wish I lived close enough to drive there.

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/05/utah-cliven-bundy-land-protest

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Some scary comments after the article Yvette.

      And most of them have nothing to do with how fragile (and abused) the environment is in that part of the country.

      • avatar Yvette says:

        It’s confounding how not one LE agency will stand up against these people for any reason. How far will they go?

        • avatar Louise Kane says:

          yes it is astounding
          as others have said here
          the consequences for a Edward Abbey type environmentalist I’m sure would be severe. I am not advocating monkey wrench gang type activities just noting the different treatment of two types of groups.

      • avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

        actually, I found comments to be funny

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        I think this is much different than the Bundy case. Legitimate questions about booting people off land that had been permitted historically to be used for a public service (cattle ranching), for other government interests is much different from what in essence amounts to vandalizing the public lands buzzing around on ATVs!

        • avatar Nancy says:

          Ida – cattle ranching is a business (with nice subsidies as in cheap public lands grazing) not a public service. Not sure you realize there’s little difference in thousands of cows tearing up the land or ATVs buzzing around.

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            What I mean is that for meat-eaters, it provides them with that service. This is why they have historically been given, rather than ‘cheap subsidies’, help and incentive, to continue this service to the American people, as in farming and also the energy companies (wind and solar too). Should the process be updated and perhaps fine-tuned? Of course. Especially for big oil.

            To me, there is a big difference with living creatures being raised and managed properly, than ATV’s buzzing around that do not give anything back. I truly think that ranching done right can help the environment, a give-and-take, as opposed to just take.

            • avatar Ida Lupines says:

              Nancy, perhaps you don’t see the difference between a machine and a living, sentient being, but others do. Meat-eaters are the majority, by the way, and it is pure fantasy to think that that is going to change for the foreseeable future. The best we can hope for is that people will see the benefit to eating less of it, and the give-and-take benefit of buying food from smaller, organic farms and ranches instead of huge factory farms, which contribute to land and water abuse and pollution, and climate change much, much more. Who the small percentage of cows raised on Western ranches feeds is no more material than where the Keystone XL tar sands oil goes – it’s still going somewhere. But it looks like as the world becomes more prosperous, it is eating more meat, not less, and using more energy too.

              Bundy needs to pay his fees; but the BLM was wrong to kill his livestock the way they did, especially after two decades of doing nothing. What is the big push now? It needs to be addressed fairly.

              Factory farming is inhumane enough without condemning livestock to that kind of life – at least on small, well-managed ranches they have a decent life.

    • avatar WM says:

      This Recapture Canyon matter has a little more history than the Mother Jones article discloses. This from the Denver Post, and the feds, including the FBI and the UT Attorney General’s Office have been giving it some thought. So has the BLM.

      So, “stand back,” take lots of pictures. Maybe write them up later.

      So this thing is going to happen tomorrow Saturday 5/10? Maybe Scott Groene and the folks at the Southeast Utah Wilderness Alliance will help with the photographing and documentation of whatever these a–holes do.

      This is about 60 miles NE of the Four Corners.

      http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_25692048/recapture-canyon-utah-be-site-next-blm-showdown

      • avatar Yvette says:

        Thanks, WM. That is a much better article.

        It’s time for someone in this Obama Administration to get some gumption.

        Not much I can do from this distance except write letters to corrupt politicians.

      • avatar Leslie says:

        Recapture Canyon is a special beautiful area. Blanding residents are extremely conservative and still angry about the federal busts that took place a few years ago. Many prominent residents were busted (and several committed suicide from shame) for digging potsherds and other artifacts and selling them world wide. http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jun/17/nation/na-artifacts-backlash17

        There is an entire chapter on this in ‘Finders Keepers’ by Craig Childs and its a very interesting story.

        Blanding has a tiny and wonderful Anazasi museum. In there is a room with thousands upon thousands of confiscated illegal Anasazi pots from the bust. It’s quite impressive.

        There is also an old timer with a ‘museum’ of collected Indian artifacts, legally supposedly, before the Antiquities Act. There is so much stuff there, thousands of arrowheads, stone ax heads, sandals, etc. that I felt literally nauseated at all that had been taken. That is Blanding!

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      “Every tribe, every Native American, and ever conservation group in that region should be out there for this desecration. I sure wish I lived close enough to drive there.”

      That’s what, I’m afraid, is going to have to come about.

      • avatar Yvette says:

        I’m talking about peaceful protest. Just drums and songs. Just wanted to be clear I’m not advocating violence.

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      This is going too far now.

  53. avatar Leslie says:

    Utah is very lax about enforcing ‘no atv’ areas. I was in Blanding environs where there are some fragile Anazasi sites. I took photos of illegal ATVer’s riding all over the landscape, not even on trails, but over and around these sites. I got their license plates. I gave all the info to the NF sheriff. Nothing was ever done. No one was ever fined. The entire state is a culture of anti-government I-Am-King people.

    • avatar WM says:

      You will find the same disregard further to the south near 4 Corners, in the BLM Canyons of the Ancients Monument, designated by President Clinton in 2000. Lots of ATV tracks and beer bottles in the places we visited in about 2006, or so. Not a BLM law enforcement type in sight. Anything of archeological/spiritual value is long gone. There is a really nice Anasazi Heritage Center outside Delores, CO. They have many artifacts there, some of which were pretty amazing.

      The dislike for, and hostility toward, the federal government and BLM employees is pervasive. It is a bit like being in a foreign country, not the US. It is probably why the national monuments are few, and importantly under BLM jurisdiction. They would probably kill National Park Service types (I’m not kidding about this last sentence).

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      I hate this kind of thing. And stealing these kinds of priceless cultural artifacts is not limited to these few.

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      It’s all about the money, as always. They don’t want to piss off the hunting groups.

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      Scenario for rancher/wolf alliance, eh?

      • avatar Nancy says:

        Wolves eat a lot of elk, don’t eat many cattle. Might be doable Immer 🙂

        2 inches of snow on the ground here and its still coming down. So much for springtime…..

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          Nancy,
          Snowed here a bit yesterday. We’ve seen 60° twice this year. Might tickle 70° today with midweek back into 30’s/40’s. Walleye opener today, and some of the lakes are still iced over.

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      Too bad there’s not 20,000 elk there anymore. Then the ranchers could really throw hissy fits. Perhaps the wolves have helped them out.

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      This should not be a surprise to anyone, but predictable after delisting. Delisting just makes wildlife conservation that much more difficult. Let’s hope Washington doesn’t have any more bright ideas like that.

      Wolf hunting and viewing do not have to be mutually exclusive,” Game and Fish large carnivore supervisor Dan Thompson said as the meeting neared an end.

      Sorry, but at this rate, they will be not only mutually exclusive, but gone for everyone.

      Our proposal is that units 6, 8 and 9 be designated as what are called science and tourism units,” Lackner said.

      But at least now we’re hearing from wildlife watchers who will put their money on the table too, and the comment Immer’s mentioned is good news.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      “Now we guide far more people interested in wildlife on many more adventures and we believe we are having a positive impact on wildlife in many different ways”

      Nice to see some of the outfitters are catching on to the fact that far more people want to SEE & ENJOY wildlife…. not shoot it.

      • avatar Yvette says:

        Agreed, and I liked that they offered multiple alternatives. How dare they use common sense! 😉

  54. avatar Ida Lupines says:

    http://www.engadget.com/2014/05/09/solar-highway-indiegogo/

    An innovative idea that doesn’t call for destruction of valuable habitats, but works with what we already have, and an additional benefit of helping to clear roads of snow!

  55. avatar timz says:

    More “hunters” that can’t tell a grizzly from a black bear.
    http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/05/09/3177399/wildlife-officials-investigate.html

    • avatar Nancy says:

      “There is little evidence to date that the increase in coyote predation could create a crisis that could not be solved by wildlife managers simply responding with reductions in antlerless deer harvests.”

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      The biggest source of mortality to white-tailed deer is automobiles. I’m always hearing about how high the population of white-tailed deer is – so I don’t believe coyotes have that much of an effect on deer population. If they make it past the fawn stage, they’ll be hit by cars, hunted during hunting season, or loss of habitat from development.

  56. avatar Nancy says:

    “A 14-mile section of trail in the canyon is closed to motorized vehicles, BLM officials said, ****but there are more than 2,800 miles of trails open to them on public lands around Blanding”

    http://www.newsdaily.com/environment/0f5766bf3a57f42bda30ae19d7729eab/dozens-of-protesters-ride-in-off-limits-canyon

    Wonder what would happen if say 50 to 100 Hell’s Angels showed up in their small town and spent the day running up and down their streets and doing “wheelies” on their front lawns?

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      Now this is just plain greedy. I do not feel the same way about this protest as I did about Mr. Bundy’s cattle. A relatively small section of trail that is off limits should be respected. If it was only hiking or horseback riding in question, it would be different. These things really tear up the landscape, especially a fragile one – and no respect for an anthropologically important area is the last staw.

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        And additionally, an area that is off limits because of priceless historical artifacts is quite different than one commandeered for solar farm(s) that tear up the landscape and destroy wildlife worse than ATVs, and have questionable benefit.

  57. avatar Elk375 says:

    Here is a interesting article in the Billings Gaette about a study of Sage Grouse in Southeast Montana. Most of the readers of the Wildlife News believe that cattle grazing is bad for sage grouse, this study refutes the negatives of cattle grazing. I have always felt that cattle grazing in Montana does not have the negative effects that some believe. The real effect on sage grouse is West Nile.

    http://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/recreation/study-finds-sage-grouse-doing-better-on-grazed-lands/article_716e3e8e-4a6e-560c-ab72-e18e6bbea1c6.html

    • avatar WM says:

      And, you can read the entire study here.

      http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/billingsgazette.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/2/84/284e0542-de2a-53a6-a7b4-4a2fcfaf434e/536dc4f181448.pdf.pdf

      Query, are the findings unique to this locale or the grazing management there, OR; 1) did they find a new relationship other sage grouse researchers did not; 2)were they dishonest in their findings (contrary to what seems to be the conclusions reached by some other researchers); 3) is this even an attempt to delay or derail delisting while more research is conducted, preserving the status quo and livestock interests who stand to lose?

      Anyone taking bets?

      • avatar Larry says:

        2 and 3.

        • avatar Elk375 says:

          Larry what is your proof.

          • avatar Larry says:

            Well it’s like this. I run such theories through my ancestral filter. Premise A: I surmise that if sage grouse (or any native spp) have existed quite well for thousands/millions of years before mankind inundated their habitat with European domesticated cows and did quite well thank you. But after the cow cataclysmic event have cascaded downhill to where we are now, my deduction then is 2 and 3. That said I suppose that if cows were added to their habitat in a Darwinian way, that is slowly in accordance with the evolutionary time clock, then they may have evolved to eat cow shit and extract their H2O needs from pounded mud that used to flow clear seeps and nourish forbs for insects to feed the chicks. My desk used to be next to the sage grouse state biologist for Idaho. I learned a lot from him and still remember his dramatic presentations with regard to the importance of sage, forbs and clean water seeps. My money is still on him.

            • avatar Larry says:

              We need to get out of this fantasy world and understand cows on public lands equals reduction in quality of soils equals reduction in native environmental equilibrium equals reduction in quality of our lives as well.

              • avatar Elk375 says:

                Larry the majority of land in the study area is private with federals and state lands interspersed in the private lands. Some of the federal lands are large parcels and some are small parcels in large blocks of private land. Cattle are not going to be removed from this type of ownership.

                More later.

                • avatar Larry says:

                  I think I understand your point that this area you talk about will not go back in time. And I know that. Just as a wetland filled in for a shopping mall will never revert back to a wetland ecosystem. But while there is a slim chance of moving cows off of public lands I never want to compromise that. I just find no redeeming value to public lands grazing. Sage grouse may well find insects under cow pies but nothing can replace the real thing, insects under decaying forb leaves. Such is what built grouse to be resilient and our substitutions for grouse habitat or any native spp habitat is far sub-par to natural selection. I even go so far as to say that given artificial intervention with Nile Virus is best left to natural selection. Maybe that will wipe out sage grouse but they have to have gone through similar catastrophic challenges in their eons of evolution. Just as hatcheries are building an entirely artificial sub-par fish it is a shame to interfere with a natural habitat for the sage grouse. This of course applies to other spp in so far as possible in the voracious spread of mankinds takeover of the planet. I just adhere to the E. Abby line in the sand philosophy.

              • avatar Scott Slocum says:

                It’s possible to strike a balance.

                In this study in SE MT, the authors concluded that “Sage-grouse have persisted at sustainable levels in the Core Area because traditional landowners have maintained large expanses of intact sagebrush-steppe habitat.”

                In north-central MT, “In exchange for the opportunity to graze cattle at discounted rates on the Matador Ranch, ranchers participating in the Matador grassbank program agree to take certain conservation actions on their home grazing lands.”

                Nijhuis, Michelle. 2005. “Matador Ranch Grass Bank.” Red Lodge Clearinghouse. April 1. http://rlch.org/stories/matador-ranch-grass-bank.

                McMillion, Scott, and Ami Vitale. 2014. “Ranching Rebooted: At Matador Ranch, What’s Good for the Prairie Is Good for Its People.” Nature Conservancy Magazine. http://magazine.nature.org/features/ranching-rebooted.xml?ssSourceSiteId=nature

              • avatar Scott Slocum says:

                Yesterday, 5/12/2014, the MN Legislature completed its approval of the 2014 Outdoor Heritage Fund appropriations, including $3.15 million for sharp-tailed grouse-habitat acquisition in 2015. Existing conservation grazing management plans are allowed to continue, but emergency haying and grazing are not allowed.

                • avatar Larry says:

                  I think it is a great win anytime a state legislature spends even $1 on wildlife enhancement. $3 million is amazing. Long live the sharpies.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        A study written 10 years ago by WDFW:

        http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01118/

        “However, we are not optimistic about the future of sage-grouse because of long-term population declines coupled with continued loss and degradation of habitat and other factors (including West Nile Virus)”

        Elk – you’re in real estate and I imagine you are more than familiar with conservation easements, ranchers paid to leave part of their private ranchland in sagebrush (the ranch next to me is well over two thirds sagebrush) but fact is they still run cattle on those easements, either their own or lease cattle, at times critical to sage grouse nesting and rearing of young.

        So what is the point? Or is it just another one of those nice subsidies that got built in decades ago and has been propped up, like cheap public land grazing fees?

        • avatar Elk375 says:

          Nancy, I just lost what I wrote. But what does that easement convey? Go to the county courthouse and look it up. I bet that it says nothing about Sage Grouse and everything about development rights. Every easement conveys something different.

          There is an easement in the Madison Valley on a spring creek that only allows dry fly fishing, no nymphs, no streamers, no wooly buggers only dry flies. The easement only conveys what it says.

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      West Nile is particularly devastating to Corvids, so there would be no reason for the culling efforts.

  58. avatar Nancy says:

    http://www.newsdaily.com/article/f40b45e40469163e1ec96893eb28e709/arizona-town-near-grand-canyon-runs-low-on-water

    Science Under Siege/Todd Wilkinson -1998

    Exposed over 15 years ago:

    “No longer can anyone doubt that irrigation wells and private water companies serving fast growing Sierra Vista and Fort Huachuca are depleting the valley aquifer and reducing water flows” Editorial in the Arizona Daily News.

    “Predictably, water developers and “property rights” crusaders immediately dismissed the findings as evidence of a conspiracy to promote one-world government”

  59. avatar Nancy says:

    The next “hotspot” over wildlife?

    ttp://www.newsdaily.com/article/daf6376bac2880936822de44d176d629/philippines-to-charge-poachers-despite-china-warning

  60. avatar Mareks Vilkins says:

    On the Edge: Noam Chomsky
    http://www.pen.org/nonfiction/edge-noam-chomsky

    We might wish to consider a remarkable paradox of the current era. There are some who are devoting serious efforts to avert impending disaster. In the lead are the most oppressed segments of the global population, those considered to be the most backward and primitive: the indigenous societies of the world, from First Nations in Canada, to aboriginals in Australia, to tribal people in India, and many others. In countries with influential indigenous populations, like Bolivia and Ecuador, there is by now legislative recognition of rights of nature. The government of Ecuador actually proposed to leave their supplies of oil in the ground, where they should be, if the rich countries would provide them development aid amounting to a small fraction of what they would sacrifice by not exploiting their oil resources. The rich countries refused.
    While indigenous people are trying to avert the disaster, in sharp contrast, the race toward the cliff is led by the most advanced, educated, wealthy, and privileged societies of the world, primarily North America.
    There is now much exuberance in the United States about “100 years of energy independence” as we become “the Saudi Arabia of the next century.

    +

    A few days ago the New York Times had an energy supplement, 8 pages of mostly euphoria about the bright future for the US, poised to be the world’s greatest producer of fossil fuels. Missing is any reflection of what kind of world we are exuberantly creating. One might recall Orwell’s observations in his (unpublished) introduction to Animal Farm on how in free England, unpopular ideas can be suppressed without the use of force, not least because immersion in the elite culture instills the understanding that there are certain things “it wouldn’t do to say”—or even to think.
    In the moral calculus of currently prevailing state capitalism, profits and bonuses in the next quarter greatly outweigh concern for the welfare of one’s grandchildren, and since these are institutional maladies, they will not be easy to overcome

    +

    a link to Orwell’s missing introduction to Animal Farm:

    The Freedom of the Press

    Orwell’s Proposed Preface to ‘Animal Farm’

    http://orwell.ru/library/novels/Animal_Farm/english/efp_go

    • avatar Yvette says:

      Mareks, Vilkens, thanks for sharing this one. It reminded me of COP 16 when President Evo Morales of Bolivia was the sole leader to fully oppose the negotiated agreement, largely because of opposition to the market based scheme of REDD. President Evo Morales was the only leader to stand up against the big countries with money. He did not falter. Then a couple of years later President Morales signed and enacted the law granting rights to the Earth and its living systems. http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/10/26/bolivia-enacts-new-law-mother-earth-141899

      Meanwhile, back in Oklahoma, I well remember President Obama’s visit. A side note: It’s my understanding that typical protocol when a President arrives is they are greeted by the Governor as the President exits AirForce one. Mary Fallin was conveniently on vacation, as was the Lieutenant Governor, so when President Obama arrived he was greeted by the Mayor of Oklahoma City.

      President Obama didn’t have an appreciative audience; he had an audience that tolerated his presence because he was working to get the southern KXL pipeline open. There had been problems with oil gluts in Cushing due to the Canadian tar sands oil. There are more pipelines coming into Cushing than there are going out. When the tar sands increased their capacity of shipments it caused there to be more oil coming in to Cushing than they could ship on south to the refineries. This glut caused a price drop of all oil on the market.

      I use to monitor a few streams for a tribe with land around the Cushing area. That was a long time ago and it’s hard to describe the amount of tank farms. Now that the Southern leg of KXL is open I hear the tank farms are growing.

      The applause tells us something important about our social and moral malaise. The President was speaking in Cushing Oklahoma, an “oil town” as he announced in greeting his appreciative audience [emphasis mine]—in fact the oil town, described as “the most significant trading hub for crude oil in North America.” http://www.pen.org/nonfiction/edge-noam-chomsky#sthash.h5mQVOCU.dpuf

      I don’t see the wealthy countries taking the steps that Bolivia has taken. We’re too far gone and with the global economy based on fossil fuels, I’m not at all confident that rich countries will make the necessary changes that will stop or slow the fossil fuel extractions.

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      Yep.

      • avatar bret says:

        OR7, a wolf originally from northeast Oregon, may have found a mate in southwest Oregon’s Cascade Mountains

        http://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2014/may/051214.asp

        • avatar Yvette says:

          I’ll hold my excitement and wish for the best. It would be great if he found a mate, and even better if they had a litter.

          Note to Idaho FG: “The Service and ODFW probably won’t be able to confirm the presence of pups until June or later, the earliest pup surveys are conducted, so as not to disturb them at such a young age.”

  61. avatar Nancy says:

    What our species seldom witnesses (and should) when it comes to other species caring about their offspring 🙂

  62. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    Wolf OR-7 may have found a black mate in SW Oregon’s Rogue River area!
    http://www.lagrandeobserver.com/News/Local-News/Oregons-wandering-wolf-finds-a-mate

  63. avatar Barb Rupers says:

    A report from the Oregon DFW with links to images of these and other wolves in Oregon: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2014/may/051214.asp

  64. avatar Jerry Black says:

    “Recapture Canyon ATV Protest”………another BLM fiasco
    (“Relatives of Clive Bundy were in the group”)
    http://www.friendsofcedarmesa.org/recapping-the-recapture-canyon-atv-protest/

  65. avatar WM says:

    Possible sage grouse ESA listing ISSUE front and center in the Washington Post. Despite the fact that the ESA generally is required to ignore economics, impacts to local economies will get some face time on this decision, count on it:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/05/11/western-states-worry-decision-on-birds-fate-could-cost-billions-in-development/

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Good article (and so were the comments)

      Time and time again its hunter related, don’t you think? Making sure the numbers in wildlife populations are “safe” so our species has something to shoot at for fun or substance, when we feel like it.

      • avatar Elk375 says:

        Hunters rule Nancy. I think that Pittman-Robinson contributions exceed 1.2 billion in 2013, which will be used for wildlife related expenditures. There is no way that this about of money can be raised either through taxes or contributions. That is the way it is.

        If the wildlife population is up then it benefits the wildlife watchers.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          Oh my, seriously? Hunters rule? Come on Elk, “I can hear the train a coming” and more and more people are starting to research the facts and care about wildlife and what’s left of their habitat.

          • avatar Elk375 says:

            Seriously Nancy. We all enjoy access to are public lands whether it is for hunting, fishing, picnicking, hiking, cross country skiing or WILDLIFE VEIWING.

            South of where you live on the Medicine Lodge Road the FWP’s is in the process of purchasing three road easements across private lands that have prevented public access to public lands. The purchase price is $33,000 with $14,000 from hunter access fees, $14,000 from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and $5,000 from two sportsman’s groups. This road easement will give people year around access to lands that are not accessible.

            Where are other people going to get the revenue that fishing and hunting provide for fish and wildlife.

            • avatar Nancy says:

              “This road easement will give people year around access to lands that are not accessible”

              But guessing mainly for hunting access, right?

        • avatar Yvette says:

          Elk357, you’re a life long hunter and Montanan (I think, maybe not?), but because of that I’d like to ask your opinion. What do you think would bring both hunters and those that oppose sport hunting to be more cooperative and work together on conservation issues? What is to lose if neither side works at reducing the conflict?

        • avatar Scott Slocum says:

          I think it’s possible to get everyone behind conservation (with the support and advocacy of the sportsmen’s lobby, and the requirement that land acquisitions be “open to the public taking of fish and game during the open season unless otherwise provided by law”).

          For example, the Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment is funded by a general sales-tax increase of three-eighths of one percent (0.375%), which is distributed as follows:

          1) 33% to the Outdoor Heritage Fund (habitat). $109 million from this fund is going “to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat for fish, game, and wildlife” in FY 2015.

          2) 33% to the Clean Water Fund (lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater),

          3) 14.25% to the Parks and Trails Fund,

          4) 19.75% to the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (arts, history, cultural heritage).

          • avatar Larry says:

            I strongly reject anyone’s notion that access to lands, public or private, under some kind of agreement or law with respect to, as you stated, “taking of fish and game during the open season”. Being a taker should not be a prerequisite to access to enjoy wildlife or an environmental area. That’s like some of these hair-brained laws now that prohibit people from interfering with a person hunting. The writers of those laws, if the truth be known, would like to prohibit nonhunters from the field during hunting season. Personally I quite enjoyed roaring my boat up to a duck blind to check licenses just as a flock of ducks were on their way in. I just had to keep a straight face and say I’m in a hurry today, have to meet a quota. But anyway any access to lands agreements must not exclude a segment of the population. It’s bad enough now to have to pay entrance fees at a national park when it is operated with general tax revenue and the purpose of the park is to enhance this nation. All citizens need a chip in the game and no person shall be excluded. I re-read your comments and maybe you did not say what I thought I read–.

            • avatar Scott Slocum says:

              Larry, right, it’s not my requirement, but that of the MN Constitution: that the lands acquired with these (general sales-tax) funds be “open to the public taking of fish and game during the open season unless otherwise provided by law.”

              I don’t know whether the amendment question would have even appeared on the MN ballot, had it not included this requirement. I don’t remember seeing it on the ballot–if it was there, everything before it looked so good that we couldn’t resist saying “yes, clean water, land, and legacy!”

              I think I remember reading in the Outdoor News biography of “a great defender of conservation” that the success of the “Legacy Amendment” was due largely to his magic with marketing.

              • avatar Scott Slocum says:

                It turns out that the MN Legislature can write ballot questions any way it wants to. The MN Supreme Court has thought about maybe hearing a challenge to this legislative power, but as of 2012 hadn’t done so (Tice 2012).

                When the Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment was put on the ballot in 2008, it read as follows (without any reference to public taking):

                “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to dedicate funding to protect our drinking water sources; to protect, enhance, and restore our wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve our arts and cultural heritage; to support our parks and trails; and to protect, enhance, and restore our lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater by increasing the sales and use tax rate beginning July 1, 2009, by three-eighths of one percent on taxable sales until the year 2034?”

                In other words, the MN Legislature included the requirement for public taking in the amendment, but didn’t show it to voters on the ballot (Sertich et al. 2008).

                Tice, D. J. 2012. “How to Word Amendments? Good Question.” Star Tribune, August 5. http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/164940266.html.

                Sertich, Anthony, Sandy Wollschlager, Jean Wagenius, Rick Hansen, Lawrence J. Pogemiller, Dennis R. Frederickson, Richard Cohen, and Satveer S. Chaudhary. 2008. Natural Resources and Cultural Heritage Dedicated Funding Provided through Increased Sales Tax Revenue, Funds Established, and Constitutional Amendment Proposed. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=house&f=HF2285&ssn=0&y=2007.

            • avatar MJ says:

              “Being a taker should not be a prerequisite to access to enjoy wildlife or an environmental area. That’s like some of these hair-brained laws now that prohibit people from interfering with a person hunting. The writers of those laws, if the truth be known, would like to prohibit nonhunters from the field during hunting season. “

              A similar argument could be made about ag-gag laws, and a number of other laws that stand but either are probably unconstitutional or should be. It is too easy to get into the weeds of current regulations and miss the big picture. A strong voice of wildlife lovers are horrified at the current state of affairs.

              We need to work on laws that reflect proper treatment of wildlife and the environment, they have no traditional protections. Without legal protections in this society, no protections will be given.

          • avatar Louise Kane says:

            “I think it’s possible to get everyone behind conservation (with the support and advocacy of the sportsmen’s lobby, and the requirement that land acquisitions be “open to the public taking of fish and game during the open season unless otherwise provided by law”).”

            No way…why should all public land be open to taking of game? I like to be outdoors a lot and I hate the sound of guns and knowing that every time I hear that noise a lethal action is being taken against some wild animal that I might only rarely see, if I am really lucky. Public lands don’t have to be killing fields and hunting is not conservation.

            • avatar rork says:

              “why should all public land be open to taking of game?”
              It’s the new acquisitions, and only unless otherwise provided. The reason is pragmatic: you want to pass useful legislation and think you need help from people who happen to be hunters and anglers to get it done.
              I’ve got several chunks of public land closed to hunting near me, and it is not completely great. They contain too many deer and the Trillium grandiflorum is gone and some use sharpshooters now. The recreational land I hunt (and use for other things 80% of the time) was largely bought with money from hunting gear taxes, and license sales, and this helped protect some of it from mountain bike and horse desecration, which is a kind of use that makes it so most people won’t go there anymore.

          • avatar MJ says:

            How did recreational hunting gain the assumed right to deprive others of our love of wildlife? Animals live in fear and it does not conserve the ecosystem, it conserves “canned” hunting. It is a nightmare for animal lovers to bear witness to this year after year. It throws off the balance of nature so badly that there are extreme over-populations of prey animals while predator species are tortured and driven almost extinction is some cases. We calculate numbers of populations necessary to keep alive (while killing their kin in front of them) based on arbitrary human whims, destroying pack structure and any sense of calm, but keeping them (barely) from going extinct. And we find this acceptable. All these species are treated with cruelty for no other reason than for a small minority who enjoy this when most of us do not.

            This is not a tradition, it is an aberration. The tradition on this continent is Native American, and this is not how we treated wildlife. It is against our spirituality to disrespect nature on this scale, despite the ridiculous propaganda I have seen recently. The tradition of trophy hunting from Europe was reserved for the wealthy, who were too few in number to do this kind of damage to an entire ecosystem. The North American model came from the American desire that the regular citizen could enjoy whatever the wealthy of Europe were entitled. What a choice in things to copy.

            Combined with human expansion, fossil fuel interests, and ranching interests, we are beyond rational decency in how wildlife is treated. This needs to be stopped. Enough politics. There are other outdoor activities that genuinely respect wildlife and the rest of the voting public.

  66. avatar Salle says:

    (S.D.)-Groups Call For Ban On Use Of Live Mammals As Bait

    http://chadrad.com/newsstory.cfm?story=33497

    • avatar Scott Slocum says:

      I guess I can accept a bit of grandstanding by the trapping associations, if it ends up improving the situation for the bait animals.

      I know it’s standard to order a cage trap with a live-bait cage attached. I’ve read the accounts of ranchers who catch gophers, mice, etc. for live bait in their coyote sets. Big boost in effectiveness for trapping cautious coyotes, they say.

      Considering all of this, the mock surprise of the trapping lobbyists is an obvious attempt to improve trapping PR.

      It sounds like the state officials keep saying “mammals” while the lobbyists keep saying “animals” for live bait. I expect we’ll be hearing, after years of attempts to prohibit live-baiting, the accounts of ranchers who’ve switched to catching reptiles, birds, etc. for live bait in their coyote sets.

      Holland, Jim. 2014. “Reports of Using Live Animals as Bait in Trapping Prompt Calls for New Law.” Rapid City Journal, May 11. http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/reports-of-using-live-animals-as-bait-in-trapping-prompt/article_29e84521-a98b-50f1-92e2-812e95a64746.html.

  67. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20140513/APN/305139671

    finally federal judge bans coyote hunting in red wolf recovery area. What took so damn long
    aves I;m sure you have seen this. Good news finally

    • avatar Ida Lupines says:

      Yes, great news at last.

      • avatar Ida Lupines says:

        I do not like this new trend of sterilizing animals. Humans just can’t seem to get the Nazi behavior out of our blood, can we. And we are too human-centric in our view of the world. Sometimes I wonder just how intelligent we really are, because there seem to be things we are just incapable of understanding, or perhaps our brains our wired for survival in this way, in only considering the (immediate) needs of ourselves, and not being able to comprehend the future.

        • avatar aves says:

          he coyote sterilization mentioned in the article is specifically within the red wolf recovery area.

          http://trackthepack.blogspot.com/2013/03/adaptive-management-techniques-how.html

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            I don’t see how it will work. You can’t sterilize them all, it is immoral and unethical. Hunting is more ethical than robbing a creature of its future by sterilization.

            The artificial environment we’ve created for ourselves by (over)breeding domestic animals shouldn’t extend to wildlife that is already under extreme pressure from relentless human activity. There are so many millions of cats and dogs that we end up destroying them, and there isn’t any other way in the unnatural environment we’ve created. What we’ve done to eliminate top predators has allowed other mesopredators to increase, and that is our fault – trying to interfere further is just going to make things worse. Stopping the hunting of coyotes needs to be more than temporary if we want the red wolves to recover – and just because coyotes are sterilized (and deer, and God knows what else), doesn’t mean the smallminded won’t still kill the red wolves, which is the real problem from the start. JMO.

            • avatar Ida Lupines says:

              As you can see, I don’t revere every scientific theory that comes down the pike in hushed tones. I see humans as clumsily blundering along from one theory to the next with a lot of irreparable mistakes along the way, and no restraint on our own behavior at all.

              • avatar Nancy says:

                A good read Ida.

                “Finally, we need 21st century human beings that think beyond their religious myths, cultural bias and outright avoidance of reality.

                “Dr. William Rees, ecological economist and former director of the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning in a blog June 12, 2012 , “The Use and Misuse of the Concept of Sustainability.” “The concepts of ‘sustainable development’ and ‘sustainability’ continue to be subverted, distorted and otherwise misused in the ongoing political debates concerning global change and economic development.

                ****Society continues to be in deep denial of fundamental facts pertaining to contemporary biophysical reality.”

                http://beforeitsnews.com/opinion/2013/05/human-species-most-destructive-on-the-planet-2444074.html

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                Thanks Nancy! It does sound like a good read.

            • avatar aves says:

              Both sterilization and hunting pretty much “rob a creature of its future”. To me hunting is more unethical (in this context), because more coyotes will just move in and red wolves will get shot by mistake.

              Sterilization isn’t done to stop poaching, it’s done to reduce hybridization. It may not work in the long run, but what else can they do? Some want to just let coyotes and red wolves breed to further create a more adaptable coywolf, which would also end the red wolf recovery program and make the red wolf go extinct. That’s exactly what the poachers want too. Then they can shoot all they want at every red wolf, red wolf/coyote hybrid, and coyote in the area.

              Sterilization has only been brought up in the context of coyote “management” recently to try to convince the coyote haters that it will do a better job of reducing the coyote population than shooting at every canid they see. Then maybe they’ll shoot less red wolves.

              Nobody thinks a ban on coyote hunting, whether temporary or permanent, will stop all poaching. Poachers will continue to poach as long as they cling to their warped perceptions of coyotes and red wolves, or to their neighbor’s views of the same. How to change such views is the million dollar question.

              We sure have made a hell of a mess of things ecologically. Rare species like the red wolf now require a lot of complicated, long term practices to have any hope of surviving. In the end, many may not survive anyway. If climate change forecasts are correct, most of the red wolf’s current range will be under water in the future.

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                I wasn’t talking about hunting in the red wolf recovery area, of course. That should never have been allowed at all. What else can they do? How about leaving them alone and quit meddling, especially if they don’t know if it will work or not?

                If in general hunting, an animal is killed it does take away future offspring. Noone said it doesn’t, in fact, I know I’ve mentioned it a lot. But if a lot of animals are deliberately sterilized, it would seem to do even more damage. A terrible idea. Especially if no one knows if it will work or not!!!! Once it’s done, it cannot be undone, which is one more reason to leave bad enough alone. Everything we do just contributes to the general screwup of the environment and wildlife.

              • avatar Ida Lupines says:

                Of course, I realize why they think sterilization will work! I think it is too late for that. Short of walling off all of our endangered wildlife to protect them from humans, I don’t know what the answer is.

                We have created the wolf/coyote hybrid by killing off all the wolves. There may be nothing ethical that we can do about it anymore. I realize that poaching will continue (as JEFFE says, you can’t fix stupid) regardless of hunting, but at least you won’t have both hunting and poaching! Legal hunting allows a gap that can be exploited. If climate change forecasts are correct, everybody’s screwed.

        • avatar WM says:

          Ida,

          Are we wired for survival, or are other things at work, as well? I would submit there are economic interests advanced by being human-centric. Decreasing birth deaths is a morality thing, as is prolonging life in old age. Now back to the economic interest part, there is incentive to invent and manufacture drugs and medical procedures for these purposes (Wall St. sees to that), and the field of medicine has become more business than profession in many disciplines; there is huge motivation to increase the number of consumers (think immigration here in the US – who is buying the diapers, big screen TV’s and stuff from Walmart (again Wall St. wants more consumers). Then some folks want bigger houses, on tracts of land, resource extraction that is detrimental to wildlife habitat, and water quality, and the list goes on and on. I don’t think it is really so much about survival of self, as it is these other things.

          But, you are right about the future.

          • avatar Ida Lupines says:

            I think all those thing you mention fall under the category of human survival – economics, extending and preserving our own life, etc. But I wish we could extend the value of life beyond our own. We are extremely cavalier about life other than human – and at points in our history, even human.

    • avatar JB says:

      This is probably the right move. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will stop the poaching.

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        I have not had time to read the opinion but I would think that the ruling would provide significant relief. Now there is no BS excuse about killing a red wolf mistakenly. I may be wrong but I’m thinking that there is no coyote season. Coyote hunters can usually hunt pretty much year round and they will stick out like a sore thumb now especially when other game seasons are closed. It will help but unfortunately I think you are right that some poaching is going to occur but now the threat of an ESA penalty is hanging over a poachers head if he/she is caught. no more excuses “I thought it was a coyote” and coyotes get some much needed relief at the same time. Good time perhaps to conduct some studies about these animals behave and react in an area where they are not relentlessly killed and persecuted.

        • avatar aves says:

          My reading of the ruling is that there will be no coyote hunting in the region for 6 months, except for defense of life and property, but there will still be coyote trapping.

          I believe the poaching has been intentional and not a case of mistaken identity so I expect the poaching to continue. But it does take away an excuse from anyone caught poaching.

          The ruling is only for the next 6 months and nobody knows yet what will happen afterwards. But hopefully this ruling will challenge the thinking of some of the locals and elevate the discussion about living with predators. It may even compel the state wildlife agency to get on board with red wolf recovery or at least get the hell out of the way.

    • avatar Barb Rupers says:

      Hope it works.

  68. avatar Yvette says:

    More good news. A NC judge has blocked coyote hunting in the regions near red wolf habitat.

    It’s only five counties and it’s temporary, but it’s still protection for the time being.

    http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/05/13/3858932/us-judge-blocks-coyote-hunting.html

    • avatar Nancy says:

      “He said the fence allows calves in and out of the area and there were other watering holes on the rancher’s 28,850-ACRE GRAZING ALLOTMENT some 45 miles southeast of Alamogordo”

      Wonder if they conferred with Bundy first?

    • avatar Barb Rupers says:

      The United States had jurisdiction of the land west of the the the Mississippi by purchase, treaties, or conquest before there were western states so why do some states “want to take back millions of acres of public land from central government agencies.” The states never owned it.

      These public lands are primarily leftovers from the railroad grants, homestead act, mining claims. . . Nobody wanted them during the expansion period, worthless desert or steep, rocky country covered by trees. Nevada even declined the offer of sections 16 & 26, often called school lands, in each township.

  69. avatar sleepy says:

    The first confirmed wolf in Iowa shot dead by coyote hunter.

    There is a known pack in Wisconsin about 50 miles from NE Iowa, and there have been confirmed tracks and scat over the past 10 years in Iowa, but this is the first “body”.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/12/grey-wolf-iowa-shot-dead?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

    • avatar timz says:

      “the hunter was not cited, because he believed the animal to be a coyote”
      What ever happened to ignorance is no defense?

      • avatar SS-Slocum says:

        Sportsmen enjoy a series of exceptions to the rule that ignorance of the law is no defense. Here are a few of the exceptions we’re hearing about in MN:

        1) incidental take by trappers, e.g. endangered lynx etc. legally killed in traps set for bobcat etc.;

        2) legal closed-season hounding (except roughly March – July) of fox, raccoon, rabbit, and hare;

        3) killing of “nuisance” wildlife (e.g. animals that look like coyotes to old men with poor eyesight) in response to perceived property damage;

        4) fatal wounding of wildlife without taking possession of the carcass.

      • avatar Larry says:

        Most wildlife laws are strict liability. That is no intention has to be proved. The intention part of the violation can have a place in mitigation before the judge but does not have to be considered for laying charges. Personally I think charges should be filed in similar cases because using a firearm to kill something is a BIG responsibility, the importance is overlooked by most people because, after all, it’s just animals.

        I still remember, probably in the 60s, an out of state elk hunter shot and killed a school girl wearing a brown coat and waiting for the school bus near Salmon, ID. Not entirely uncommon for waterfowl hunters to shoot all ducks that come in and take the legal species limits home. The rest are stomped into the mud.

        We are changing from a society of responsible people to one that feels entitled.

  70. avatar Harley says:

    It’s not wildlife but it’s proof cats are cool. 🙂

      • avatar Louise Kane says:

        Harley this is so strange
        when my son was very little about two he was on a big wheel and the neighbors dog attacked him. Our black cat that was tough as hell attacked the dog and drove him off. I’ve never seen anything like that until now. It makes me wonder of the dogs attacked because of the big wheel like ride?

        • avatar WM says:

          I’ve certainly been tempted to attack a “big wheels” tricycle (not the rider of course) on more than one occasion. Those are the most obnoxious devices created by man, and like most cheap shit, manufactured in China for American markets, disgusting. They make the worst sound on concrete/pavement that carries for hundreds of yards, and are second to none, except for those, also obnoxious, long plastic horns made of the same kind of plastic.

          And, that’s my kind of cat – focused and doing good in the world with minimal effort with maximum effect!

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          As an aside, as I scrolled down through the trolling advertisements, there was one of those 10 reasons why pit bulls aren’t bad dogs by puptoob(?) next article by puptoob was 10 most aggressive breeds of dogs. Hands down the pit bull lead lost as most aggressive…

        • avatar Harley says:

          But it’s not even a big wheel really. As far as I can see, totally unprovoked. I’d be mad as hell if that had been my child.

    • avatar Yvette says:

      Whoa! That was awesome. I’m a cat person and have always been and I know to never underestimate a cat. As a kid, I saw my dog and my cat both chase off a dog, but I’ve never seen anything like this.

      Thank goodness for that cat.

    • avatar Barb Rupers says:

      I always did like cats.

      Once in Montana I had a dog that split the plastic in the door of a Willies jeep to get at a cat – the cat met it halfway across the yard and the dog lost little time in getting back to the jeep with cat in close pursuit!

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Jeff E., Thanks. I was arguing this ten years ago. Whether wolves deplete “game” or not is not just a matter of whether the predation is additional or compensatory. The packs regulate each other’s size and density even when prey is plentiful.

  71. avatar WM says:

    The next round in the chess game in which Yakama tribal members seek off-reservation legal jurisdiction over “trespassing” elk on ancient burial sites. Tribal court flexes its muscles over the WDFW, and they seek review in federal court. Some think this is taking sovereign nation idea a little too far, especially when there is no paper trail.

    http://www.yakimaherald.com/home/2176885-8/state-wants-fed-court-to-stop-tribal-court

    • avatar Yvette says:

      It sounds like both sides have been in the wrong, and this would be settled best with mediation?

      Interesting one to keep a watch on.

  72. avatar Louise Kane says:

    http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/monster-week/videos/dont-run-from-wolves.htm

    anyone know the real story behind this trashy video about wolves killing a researcher…

    • avatar Larry says:

      Louise, that is a great question. Looking through the flick I could not find a reference point for dates or precise location. What really peaks my interest is that Valerius Giest is a respected wild sheep biologist. I used him as an expert witness in a federal case involving endangered Ovis ammon out of northeastern China. I have spent several days with him and can’t see him embellishing or being a part to fabrication of a wolf killing story. Why have we not heard of this from other sources? I wonder if it is something dug up out of some old Hudson Bay log in the 1700’s and just conveniently forgot to mention the date.

      • avatar Larry says:

        Now I’ve read Immer Treue reference and vaguely remember this from a couple of years ago and the mixed reviews it got at the time. Though still surprised Giest would get involved with subjective information.

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          Geist has become an “expert” for the anti-wolf spectrum.

          • avatar Nancy says:

            Immer – I seem to recall (from other articles) that these wolves had become habituated to humans – handouts and such around the camp.

            • avatar Immer Treue says:

              Nancy,
              That’s supposedly what occurred. Article I provided mentions open dump. Others mention food habituation .

              • avatar Nancy says:

                This was a tragedy (as was the school teacher in Alaska) but given how many wolves are in Canada, Alaska even the lower 48 now and the amount of people who hunt, fish, hike and camp in wolf territory, both incidents IMHO, were rare incidents and may well have been prevented.

                Unlike the cat video Harley linked to – where domestic dog attacks on children and adults, occur on a regular basis all over the country.

    • avatar Jeff N. says:

      Animal Planet = Spike TV. In fact even Discovery has become nothing more than sensationalism masquerading as a science/nature network.

      I watched that video and audibly laughed on a few occasions, and I found it amusing that in one clip, after they show Geist speaking, they show a profile of a coyote.

      Trash indeed.

    • avatar Mark L says:

      If they substituted ‘dog’ it would be a lot more accurate.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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